A potential conflict of interest was declared during the selection process for the Tokyo Olympics showjumping team, the sport's governing body, Equestrian Australia, has confirmed.
The team which consists of Jamie Kermond (ranked 1150), Katie Laurie (469) and Edwina Tops-Alexander (311) was announced on June 30.
Australia's top two ranked riders were left out of the team, leading one of them, former Armidale local Rowan Willis, to question the decision in an email to Equestrian Australia executives.
Kermond lists Horsepower Feed and Supplements as a major sponsor of his Yandoo Park Equestrian Business on his website, and Stephen Lamb, one of two selectors for the Australian team, is listed under Horsepower's Sales Staff as the Territory Manager for Sydney, South NSW and ACT.
Lamb had been picked by High Performance Director Chris Webb to be a selector.
Australian Community Media is not suggesting Kermond's inclusion in the starting team was due to his relationship with Lamb.
"Every selectors' meeting, it is registered and declared, those that I have a conflict with, potentially," he said.
Webb said: "There was a potential conflict of interest declared as per the [Equestrian Australia] conflict of interest policy.
"It had been acknowledged from the start of the process and through it's duration."
When asked by Australian Community Media if Lamb had to abstain from all deliberations regarding team selection, or just those specifically related to Jamie Kermond, Webb insisted policies were followed.
"As previously stated the potential conflict of interest was declared and all potential conflicts were managed in accordance with the conflict of interest policy," he said.
Equestrian Australia's Conflict of Interest policy states a conflict of interest may arise where someone in a position of influence in relation to a decision or action may derive a benefit from a decision or action.
According to the policy, representatives have a duty to avoid conflicts of interest and "must not place themselves in a position where there is a real and sensible possibility of a conflict of interest".
The organisation records a register of all conflicts.