At the end of January 2017, both the International Triathlon Union (ITU) and the Fédération Equestre International (FEI) agreed on signing Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) with commercial bodies active in their sport (Ironman and Global Champions League (GCL)), which allowed for extrajudicial arrangements.
The agreement between FEI and GCL includes FEI approval of the GCL rules, which are now in compliance with FEI rules. Beforehand, both the GCL and the FEI Officials, who were sanctioned for officiating at GCL events, had complained against FEI regulations allegedly breaching EU anti-trust regulations before the Belgian Competition Authority. This complaint has since been withdrawn, with FEI President Ingmar De Vos saying: “The new MOU […] means an end to the legal issues between us […] The FEI was always of the belief that there was room for co-existence between the current FEI series and the GCL and […] now we can turn the page and look to the future.“
The collaboration between ITU and IRONMAN, a sports company responsible for the organisation of the Ironman World Series, focuses on standardised rules, further collaboration on anti-doping efforts, national federation relations, sanctioning, a single-set of rules, and collaborative marketing initiatives to grow the sport. The MoU therefore ends a dispute regarding rules and the application of anti-doping regulations lasting over several years amiably.
Both agreements showcase the ability of sport federations to reach agreements with commercial actors in their field, while preserving the unity of their sport, including the authority over its rules, and appropriate regulations on aspects such as security and anti-doping rules. These are positive examples of how potential conflicts are solved without legal procedures in front of competition authorities and bode well for current competition discussions handled by the European Commission.