Ingmar again: FEI boss readies for third term at horse sport’s helm

FEI President Ingmar De Vos will be running for a third and final four-year Presidential term.
FEI President Ingmar De Vos will be running for a third and final four-year Presidential term. © FEI/Richard Juilliart

FEI President Ingmar De Vos will remain in the role for another four years, being the sole candidate for the presidential election at the FEI General Assembly in Cape Town, South Africa, in November.

The 58-year-old Belgian native was Secretary-General for three years, and took up the post of FEI President in 2014 after receiving an overwhelming majority in the first round of voting, earning 98 votes out of a possible 131, at the FEI General Assembly in Baku, Azerbaijan. Four years later at the FEI General Assembly in Manama, Bahrain, he stood unopposed and received unanimous support for a second term.

His third term as FEI President will be his last, under FEI rules. The 13th FEI President since the Federation was founded in 1921, De Vos became the first male to head the organization after a 28-year run of consecutive female Presidents. Over his career, De Vos has gained recognition for his skills as a sports administrator and for being a gender equality advocate.

De Vos is only the fourth FEI President to be elected an International Olympic Committee (IOC) Member, a position he has held since September 2017, and is currently on the IOC Legal Affairs, Women in Sport and the Los Angeles 2028 Coordination Commissions. He also served in the past as a member of the IOC Digital and Technology Commission.

De Vos said that since 2014 he had been “fortunate and extremely grateful” to have many National Federations, friends and the staff at FEI Headquarters support his work, and show unwavering commitment to the continued development of horse sport and the organisation.

“Remaining relevant as a sport, further expanding our fan base by attracting new and young athletes and maintaining our place in the Olympic and Paralympic movements remain our priorities for the future and we will only achieve all this if we work together with these common goals in mind.”

During his Presidency, De Vos has overseen changes to the Olympic and Paralympic formats as well as a major overhaul of the FEI Rules and Regulations governing the discipline of Endurance. In his second mandate, he guided the FEI through the Covid-19 pandemic and the outbreak of Equine Herpes Virus (EHV-1) that resulted in an FEI-imposed six-week shutdown of international equestrian sport. He has been instrumental to the organizational growth of the FEI, in particular the recent creation of the International Grooms Association (IGA).

In March 2017, he became a UN International Gender Champion (IGC), joining a leadership network that brings together determined female and male decision-makers to break down gender barriers and make gender equality a working reality in their spheres of influence.

He is currently a Council member of the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF) and the Global Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF). He is also a member of the Executive Committees of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and SportAccord.

De Vos holds degrees in political science, and international and European law, and started his career as an advisor to the Belgian Senate. He joined the Belgian Equestrian Federation as managing director in 1990, and held the additional role of Secretary-General from 1997 to 2011.

During his time at the Belgian National Federation, De Vos was chef de mission for the Belgian team at all six FEI World Equestrian Games between 1990 and 2010 and at three Olympic Games – Sydney 2000, Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008. He is a member of the Belgian Olympic Academy. He was co-founder of the European Equestrian Federation (EEF) in 2010 and was also Secretary-General from 2010 until 2011, when he joined the FEI.

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