The BAC has been closely following, and consulting with its members on, the decision by the Executive Board of the Union Internationale de Pentathlon Moderne (UIPM) on 4 November 2021 to remove riding as one of the five disciplines in the sport.
The BAC is concerned that this decision appears to have been taken without necessary or appropriate transparency or consultation, with the athletes of the Great Britain World Class Programme, or the wider global pentathlon athlete community.
After consulting with a number of our members, it is clear to us that the majority of athletes strongly oppose the UIPM decision, and the governance protocols of the UIPM which facilitated this decision being made. The athletes are deeply disappointed at not being consulted in advance of this decision and also feel that the more recent attempts by the UIPM to consult have been wholly undemocratic and unacceptable.
This position was also reflected in a statement issued by GB Pentathlon on 18 November 2021, after consultation with stakeholders including athletes, which stated that the organisation does not support the removal of riding from Modern Pentathlon and is urging the UIPM “to consider all options available and try to retain Riding if at all possible”. Several other National Federations, including those from Australia, Canada, Sweden, Finland, Poland, Czech Republic, Kyrgyzstan and Hungary have also publicly stated that they do not support the UIPM decision.
Significantly, the UIPM Congress is being held on 27/28 November 2021, where the decision will be put to a vote of the General Assembly. The General Assembly, which includes the individual National Federations, is the supreme and legislative body of the UIPM and as such has the power to overrule the decisions of the UIPM Executive Board.
Ahead of the Congress, the BAC’s Head of Athlete Support, Sam Little, said:
“Firstly, it is crucial that the National Federations listen, acknowledge and act on behalf of their athletes. Every National Federation has an equal vote at Congress. Regarding Great Britain’s World Class Programme athletes, the BAC urges GB Pentathlon to continue to act upon the voice of their athletes and not support any UIPM vote at Congress to remove riding as a discipline.
“Secondly, the BAC understands that, in accordance with the UIPM Constitution, the UIPM Athlete Commission Chair has a vote at Congress. The BAC urges the Chair to listen and act upon the opinions of the worldwide athlete community, including Great Britain’s athletes, and vote against the removal of Riding as a discipline. If the Chair feels unable to represent the voice of the athlete, they should look to abstain from any voting.
“Finally, the BAC urges athlete representative bodies across the globe to support pentathletes in having their voices heard through the actions of their National Federations as well as through the UIPM Athlete Commission Chair.”