Lexington, Ky. - In January of 2017, the USEF terminated its relationship with the American Driving Society (ADS) because that organization was unwilling to reach an agreement regarding its responsibilities as the Recognized Affiliate for the Driving discipline. In May of 2017, the ADS and USEF were able to reach agreement on key issues including competition licensing, licensed officials, anti-doping efforts and a continued commitment to work together to grow the driving discipline. These efforts resulted in the reinstatement of ADS as the Recognized Affiliate until the end of November 2018, at which point the two organizations would meet again to determine the path forward and renew the Affiliate Agreement.
Unfortunately, after the initial Affiliate Agreement expired, and despite continued negotiating through repeated extensions of the Agreement, the two organizations could not come to an agreement and have agreed it is in the best interest of both organizations to part ways. As the current Agreement is expired, this decision is effective immediately.
“Recognized Affiliate Association status offers significant benefits, but also comes with great responsibility,” stated USEF Chief Executive Officer Bill Moroney. “Relationships between the USEF and its Recognized Affiliates must be mutually beneficial in order to best serve the needs of the horses, athletes and the sport of equestrian. In today’s environment, there are higher requirements to ensure fairness and safety, added scrutiny, and increased exposure associated with operating as an amateur sports organization and this can create challenges. USEF is uniquely positioned to assist our Affiliates in meeting those challenges so we can all enjoy a safe environment.”
Moroney continued: “We recently met with ADS leadership and developed several proposals regarding competition licensing, licensed officials, alignment of rules and anti-doping for presentation to the ADS Board of Directors. We are very disappointed that the ADS Board of Directors was unwilling to accept these proposals required to keep our environment safe and fair, despite USEF’s best efforts to be flexible regarding their Affiliate concerns. Ultimately, however, USEF cannot compromise on protecting our athletes, ensuring the welfare of our horses and maintaining the integrity of our sport.”
USEF continues to work with organizers and competitors to make certain athletes at every level have access to the competitive opportunities and resources needed to hone their talents. USEF is committed to the continued development of the sport of driving and will immediately begin a process to replace the ADS with a new Recognized Affiliate for driving.