After there has been increasing criticism of the FEI’s (Fédération Equestre Internationale) maternity protection regulations recently, the FEI has now decided to change these regulations.
Many German female athletes have recently spoken out in favour of changing the existing maternity protection rule and thus for more equality in sport. In particular, team world champion in show jumping Janne Friederike Meyer-Zimmermann and double Olympic dressage champion Jessica von Bredow-Werndl, together with the EqualEquest initiative and the FN, have campaigned for a change in the rules.
The current maternity leave rule states that a minimum period of six months must be observed when claiming this in order to be able to claim the benefits of maternity leave. During these six months, the respective riders will be credited with half of the world ranking points earned during this period in the previous year, but only if the riders also observe this six-month break from competitions. If the athletes feel fit enough again at an earlier point in time and want to return to competitive sport, they will retroactively lose all world ranking points that were credited to them during the entire pregnancy break.
Return to tournament sport after three months of maternity leave
According to the new rule change, it should now also be possible for mothers to return to competitive sport after only three months without being disadvantaged. However, for the time being, this only applies to dressage, driving and show jumping as well as to para-dressage and endurance riding. The extent to which the regulation for female vaulters can be adapted is still being examined. Only in eventing are there still reservations about changing the maternity protection regulations, so that there are currently no changes to the maternity protection regulations in this discipline.