Princess Haya clear for 3rd term as FEI president

The Associated Press

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) -- Princess Haya of Jordan will seek four more years as president of the International Equestrian Federation after overcoming critics of the body's links to her husband's operations.

FEI member countries voted 103-3 to abolish a two-term limit she introduced, clearing their president to serve three consecutive terms.

''I am very honored for the opportunity that you have given me to be available as a future president of the FEI,'' said Princess Haya, who did not take part in the debate or vote.

The three ''no'' votes followed recent criticism of apparent conflicts of interest for the princess, who was elected in 2006 as a reformer to clean up the sport.

Thoroughbred and endurance racing operations of her husband, Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai, have been implicated in doping and welfare allegations.

Switzerland was among her opponents and will nominate Pierre Genecand as a presidential candidate later this year.

The election is scheduled in Dubai at the FEI general assembly from Dec. 11-14.

Swiss official Claude Nordmann told FEI members it should stand for ''sound governance.''

''Where no conflict of interest or suspicion of it for anyone nor collusion are tolerated, where transparency, integrity and professionalism are the rules for all action and for all athletes,'' Nordmann said. ''And where all problems are solved quickly and satisfactorily before they are contaminating all other disciplines.''

At its special assembly Tuesday, world equestrian officials were debating how to improve endurance racing, which is popular in the Middle East.

The discipline's image has been damaged by a series of doping cases and allegations of cruelty. It has been suggested as a future candidate to join the Summer Olympic program.

The FEI announced an Endurance Task Force this month, but within days removed two members closely tied to Sheik Mohammed. Complaints were led by the Swiss and Dutch federations.

The federation also declined an offer to fund the task force from Meydan, a development and hospitality company backed by the sheik which operates the emirate's premier horse racecourse.

Meydan also withdrew as a sponsor of the 2014 World Equestrian Games in France.

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