The equestrian community is calling upon the FEI President to respond to the allegations made against him and other FEI officials who have conspired to cover up two unresolved cases of equipment testing involving the WTP Bit and STS Irons, two award-winning products that have been recognised by many experts for their welfare and safety merits.
The letter, sent by the products’ manufacturer, Mr. Adrian Morgante, provides Mr. De Vos and his colleague Mr. Kemperman with the opportunity to deny the allegations made against them. However, no response has been received from the FEI denying the claims.
Mr. Morgante, the winner of 13 international awards for horse welfare and rider safety, has released the letter to the public to expose what has been labelled a “corrupt, flawed and dangerous” equipment testing process. Further, well respected UK media company, the Sports Integrity Initiative voiced their opinion in their recent article Broken or fixed: the FEI equipment approval process.
The equestrian community, The Sports Integrity Initiative, national federations, and three legal firms have been asking for transparency and the FEI to provide the Equipment Working Group testing reports. If there is no corruption or fraud, the release of the reports should be published on the FEI web site, which will resolve this matter immediately.
Letter sent to FEI President Mr. Ingmar De Vos and FEI Chairman of Dressage Mr. Frank Kemperman on 28 November 2019:
28 November 2019
Mr Ingmar De Vos, FEI President Mr Frank Kemperman, Chairman of Dressage
Dear Mr. De Vos and Mr. Kemperman,
Despite paying lip service to the values of the FEI in upholding the highest standards of rider safety and horse welfare, we consider your actions, and those of Mr. Kemperman and the other FEI officials involved in the ongoing cases of the WTP Bit and STS Irons, to be profoundly hypocritical, deceptive and dishonest.
On 6 November 2019, The Sports Integrity Initiative published an article, titled ‘Broken or fixed: the FEI equipment approval process’. Esteemed investigative journalist Mr. Andy Brown reported on the shortcomings of the equipment approval process, which has been grossly manipulated by those in positions of power.
Like many other individuals before him, in his attempts to uncover the truth in the matter and request the equipment testing reports, Mr. Brown was met with roadblocks purposefully put in place by the FEI. As he states in his article:
Following his investigation, we have received more evidence from whistleblowers who have come forward, prompted by Mr. Brown’s commitment to seeking the truth, that you and Mr. Kemperman have conspired with Mr. Mikael Rentsch and Ms. Aine Power of the FEI Legal Department.
We allege that you conspired with these individuals to commit additional offences by lying to FEI officials and National Federations to cover up these equipment testing scandals that have smeared the reputation of the FEI.
We give you the opportunity to deny you conspired with Mr. Mikael Rentsch and Ms. Aine Power of the FEI Legal Department to commit the following fraudulent acts:
- In the case of the STS Irons, the FEI has falsified documents and published false results in an attempt to mislead the public on the date of equipment testing and the equipment’s subsequent approval.
- In the case of the WTP Bit, the FEI has published falsified reports on the FEI website in an attempt to deceive the public regarding the equipment testing reports and the equipment’s subsequent approval.
- The FEI has lied to journalist Mr. Andy Brown in stating there is legal action pending against Mr. Adrian Morgante. At no stage has any evidence been provided by the FEI to Mr. Brown or Mr. Morgante validating this claim is true and correct.
- The FEI has employed the threat of pending legal action as a cunning and deliberate strategy to silence Mr. Brown and Mr. Morgante in seeking the truth in the ongoing cases of the WTP Bit and STS Irons.
- In an act of revenge against Mr. Morgante, the FEI refused to remove the false claim published on the FEI website when the alleged non-approval of the WTP Bit was found to be false and flawed, and withdrawn by the FEI in 2015.
- The FEI has abused its position of power to create a closed shop that discriminates against products manufactured outside of Europe that are deemed to be in direct competition with FEI-approved equipment. Attached are diagrams proving the WTP Bit is not a control bit and should be approved immediately.
Mr. De Vos and Mr. Kemperman, if you wish to resolve this matter under the shelter of confidentiality, we offer you the opportunity to deny the above allegations by responding in writing within seven days.
Should you fail to do so, we will publish this letter publicly and expose to the international equestrian community your failure to uphold the FEI Constitution and your blatant disregard for rider safety, horse welfare and fair commercial competition.
As the world prepares for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan we suspect the public release of this letter will provide further damning evidence against the FEI in the eyes of the media, the public and the International Olympic Committee.
Let me assure you that we will continue to publish our efforts to resolve the ongoing cases of the WTP Bit and STS Irons in the lead up to the 2020 Olympic Games and beyond, and we will not rest until the FEI provides the evidence requested.
The world and the International Olympic Committee are watching how you respond. As Article 2 of the IOC Code of Ethics states:
In his article, Broken or fixed: the FEI equipment approval process, UK journalist Mr. Andy Brown of the Sports Integrity Initiative has raised questions of the FEI equipment testing process. Like Mr. Morgante, he too encountered resistance from the FEI to release information on equipment testing.
Mr. Morgante says, “Andy Brown is not the first person to seek answers from the FEI regarding equipment testing. One can’t help but wonder, if even a journalist asking questions of the FEI on a matter of public interest is ignored, how can the public have confidence that horse welfare and rider safety will be safeguarded by the FEI?”
When Mr. Brown continued in his requests for the equipment testing reports, an FEI spokesperson responded: “The FEI has filed a criminal complaint in Switzerland against [Morgante]. There is no lawsuit at this stage as the matter currently sits with the Prosecutor.” Mr. Morgante says, “Since 2014, the FEI has tried almost every trick in the book, including threats to persuade me to stop pursuing the matter of the WTP Bit and STS Irons. Despite their claims that legal action is pending, I have never been contacted by the Swiss authorities.
This is further validated by Mr. Brown, who reported: ‘Despite alleging that legal action is in process against Morgante, the FEI didn’t produce evidence that it has been filed. The threat of legal action can be an effective way of silencing complainants.’