Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein will not stand for a third term as President of the International Equestrian Federation (FEI), she has revealed today.
The move, which she described as “one of the hardest decisions of my life”, will see the Sydney 2000 Olympian losing her International Olympic Committee membership when she steps down in December this year.
It was expected that she would run again for a third term in the most powerful position in world equestrian sport after the FEI members voted overwhelmingly in April to change its statutes from the two, four-year term limit for Presidents – a concept introduced by Princess Haya herself when she was first elected in 2006.
However, she has now said she always planned to leave office after this term, despite the support being “a humbling and truly huge moment” in her life.
“I committed to a term limit, and that commitment still weighs heavily on me,” Princess Haya said.
In an emotive statement, she also highlighted the need to spend more time with her family – she has two young children with her husband, Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum – and on her humanitarian work in light of the Gaza–Israel conflict as other reasons behind the decision to step down.
“As always, I continue to have the support of my family, and yet, I am painfully aware that their support for me comes at a cost for them,” Princess Haya added.
“Fate took my own mother away from me when I was three years of age.
“That experience greatly influences my efforts to strike the right work-life balance with my own two young children.
“I have always managed this balance in the past, but recent events have made me question my ability to do so.
“The situation in my region is turbulent and desperate at the moment.
“You will understand that these are also my people and my family, so recently much of the work that I have balanced with my FEI Presidency in the past has begun to make itself a first priority.
“In the last weeks, I have needed to put aside some of my work for the FEI to concentrate on humanitarian relief to Gaza and other work in that sector.
“And I feel that this is just the beginning.”
Swiss businessman Pierre Genecand is the only person to have put himself forward for the FEI Presidency to date.
Potential candidates now have until September 1 to declare their candidacy ahead of the election at the FEI General Assembly in Azerbaijan’s capital Baku on December 14 this year.
This article first appeared in Inside the Games and has been reproduced with permission. The original article can be viewed by clicking here.