07 July 2010

FEI Fails Public Relations 101. What, Again? Really? So Soon?

Or, look what mayhem ensues when everybody gets a press release, but nobody gets "it"

The FEI has massively failed Public Relations 101, yet again. We've never seen anything like it. And we've seen a lot. It's like the FEI got everyone drunk on Double Trouble Carrot PunchTM without even meaning to! Given some very wishful thinking Stateside it's a full scale media disaster for the FEI. One award-winning American journalist in particular is so badly spun we think she might have motion sickness. We won't even link to that mess for comedic purposes, it's that far gone. It's so bad, we feel sorry for the FEI (save the Person Responsible for this whole mess). L'Affaire Sapphire even made us feel sorry for John Roche, and we didn't think that was possible.

In the interest of promulgating reality, our first Gold Media Star goes to none other than St-Georg (yes, really), which has published the first clarification we've seen (The Carrot doesn't count) of this latest massive communications failure. Unfortunately in addition to being in German it's wrapped up in a predictable "welfare" agenda when we all know this had nothing to do with actual welfare, only the manipulation of the concept with obvious motives. The Interweb Mayhem is not limited to the English language, oh no. So far we've seen it in French, German and it's probably in Dutch too, but we can't make any sense out of Dutch. So St Georg has differentiated itself by publishing a more nuanced explanation of the ruling bullshit that the FEI and USEF actually tried to put out on July 3 (and did, if you knew that both the retro-elimination AND the disqualification were protested with only the first likely to be overturned, the essential dispute not so much). But well . . . look where that got them.

The resulting mayhem worked very well for the USEF though, didn't it?  Hey peoples, if the May Tribunal ruling (that has  strangely yet to see the light of day) was so favorable to the USEF/MW, why did they just spend the entire 30-day appeal period negotiating to stay out of arbitration over it? If it was really in their favor, there'd be no reason to appeal and thus nothing to haggle over all this time to get them to NOT appeal. And the American side "officially" got so little out of it and yet is so satisfied, isn't that kind of odd?  "Officially" the story is something nice about "the good of the sport," the main need for the good of the sport being to get the protocol revised so this can't happen again. But they could easily have gotten the protocol revised without using the leverage of a CAS appeal, there was surely overwhelming support for that before the WEG, given the widespread outrage. So we have to ask, is that it? Are you SURE that's all you guys got? Especially considering the highly irregular way in which the resolution of this case has been handled, well . . . let's just say Cinders, the mysophobic piglet, might have to pull on her Wellies again. We love Cinders.

Horse and Hound has been conspicuously silent on the matter; we hope they're on the case and will knock our socks off clarifying the FEI decision for the largely confused anglophone masses.

If you read French, the Swiss site Le Cavalier Romand also has commentary on the BFF situation. They and L'Eperon posit BFF concern about the WEG was a strong motivator; it would indeed be unfortunate if the USEF had appealed and the CAS decision came down in the midst of the WEG. Awkward!  We all know how important it is to USEF to not have anything screw up the WEG. Progressive list, anyone?  Probably the arbitration would have stretched into 2011, given who is involved. But we're pretty sure it would never get that far. If you had all that dirty laundry, and all that at your disposal, would you let it get that far?

thanks to reader Lisa for sending the St Georg link, and other humorous contributions on this issue.