13 Aug 2014

HRH Princess Haya Extends Gratitude to HH Sheikh Mohammed and UAE Equestrian Federation

13 August 2014 – Dubai, UAE – After declining a third term as President of the International Equestrian Federation (FEI), HRH Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein, wife of HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, today expressed Her gratitude towards HH Sheikh Mohammed, a passionate equestrian and a leading figure in the equestrian world, for His ongoing support of Her eight year (two term) Presidency and for personally driving the success and growth of equestrian sport across the United Arab Emirates and around the globe.

HRH Princess Haya also thanked the UAE Equestrian Federation for their support and dedication in taking the sport to new heights across the Nation. In a statement released on the FEI’s website, HRH Princess Haya, who lost Her mother at the age of three, explained her desire to spend more time with Her family, particularly Her two young children. She said She also wants to put a higher priority on providing help and humanitarian relief to people across the region who continue to suffer daily.

In a conference call with media from throughout the world, She spoke passionately about conditions in Gaza, and the incredible generosity of HH Sheikh Mohammed and the UAE, as well as the role of Dubai's International Humanitarian City, in bringing relief to displaced Palestinian families. In an election determined by National Federations from countries around the world, HRH Princess Haya became the 13th President and the first Arab President of the 102-year-old organization in 2006. At age 31, she was also the youngest president of the any international sport federation.

She was overwhelmingly re-elected to a second term in 2010, easily defeating two European candidates with the support of 90 out of 124 National Federations. Her position at the FEI, coupled with Her experience as a competitor at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, also earned Her a spot on the International Olympic Committee. She also built bridges to other organizations connected to equestrian sport and the equine industry. She became a Goodwill Ambassador for the World Organization for Animal Health and serves as President of the International Horse Sports Federation, an alliance she helped create. In all of her sport roles, She has been a strong advocate for fair treatment of all regions of the world in the development of sport. She created the FEI Solidarity program, patterned after a similar Olympic project, to support the global development of equestrian sport well beyond its traditional base in Europe. Princess Haya is also credited with modernizing the FEI with good governance, increased transparency and an independent judicial system. She transformed the Nations Cup jumping series into a true global championship; brought new commercial and broadcast partners to the FEI; introduced a transparent electronic entry system; and launched the widely praised Clean Sport initiative. The success of that effort was confirmed when there was not a single positive doping result at the 2012 London Games.

Although the FEI oversees seven equestrian disciplines, in keeping with her commitment to good governance, Princess Haya turned responsibility for all issues related to Endurance over to an FEI Vice President to avoid any conflict of interest involving UAE competitors in that discipline. In 2012, HH Sheikh Mohammed became the individual FEI World Endurance Champion and led a UAE team to the Team Championship. Princess Haya said her husband has been her role model for her FEI work. “HH Sheikh Mohammed shares my love of equestrian sport, and I am grateful for his support of my work in that area,” She said. “I am equally grateful for the guidance he provided through his leadership. His insistence on good governance, justice and service to the people set the standard that I have tried to emulate. I looked to him as my mentor and example.” She also expressed her gratitude for the steadfast support she received from the UAE National Equestrian Federation. “Any success I have had as FEI President, is an achievement by the UAE Federation and a success for the UAE,” She said. Princess Haya was widely expected to win a third term as FEI President if she had chosen to run. Last year, 109 National Federations voted to change the FEI’s statutes to permit a third term. She will remain FEI President and will continue to carry the UAE flag in that role until the election of her replacement at the next FEI General Assembly in Baku in December.