Equestrian Australia has entered voluntary administration ©Equestrian Australia

Equestrian Australia has said it will ensure requirements are met to nominate athletes for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games after the national governing body entered voluntary administration.

The organisation entered voluntary administration following the withdrawal of funding by Sport Australia, who had slammed Equestrian Australia’s governance and raised concerns over welfare of participants within the sport.

"We do not take these measures lightly but our priority is the long-term betterment of the sport and the welfare and safety of all Equestrian Australia athletes, participants, staff and volunteers," Sport Australia said in a statement, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

"In recent times, the leadership and governance at Equestrian Australia has fallen well short of acceptable standards with the resignation of eight directors, including three chairs, in the past 16 months.

"We will revisit our position on these matters when Equestrian Australia demonstrates to our satisfaction that it has developed, and will implement, a new governance model that achieves our core requirements of being structurally democratic, representative and stable."

The Equestrian Australia Board confirmed it had entered voluntary administration, with Craig Shepard and Kate Conneely of KordaMentha appointed as voluntary administrators.

Equestrian Australia says it will ensure requirements are met to select the Tokyo 2020 teams ©Getty Images
Equestrian Australia says it will ensure requirements are met to select the Tokyo 2020 teams ©Getty Images

"This follows the withdrawal of funding by Sports Australia, which had formed a view that, until the organisation is both representative of the membership and stable in governance and operation, they could not in good faith continue to contribute public funds," Equestrian Australia said.

"Combined with the impact of COVID-19 on our forecast revenue, this places the organisation at risk of trading insolvently.

"Clearly, the current Equestrian Australia model does not work.

"The intent of entering voluntary administration is to avoid insolvency, which would be disastrous, and to create the conditions for a successful and sustainable equestrian community into the future.

"Effective immediately the high-performance programme will be transferred under the oversight of the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS).

"The high performance panel will remain in place, funding returned to the AIS, and the programme will continue unabated in pursuit of equestrian gold at the upcoming Olympics.

"We have been advised that there will be no change to high performance staffing arrangements."

Equestrian Australia added that there is no planned loss of jobs, with the organisation hoping the process will enable it to be rebuilt as a "viable, representative, democratic and stable national sporting organisation."

Leigh Clifford, high performance panel chair, added the organisation was aware of requirements for nominating athletes for the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Clifford said the organisation will liaise with the Australian Olympic Committee and Paralympics Australia to ensure these are met.

The national governing body must select the team for the Games, meaning Equestrian Australia must leave administration before nominating athletes.