Demonising Justin Gatlin
13th September 2015
The Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) has dismissed a request from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) federation for an interim lifting of its suspension, implemented in March after concerns that FEI rules had been breached, specifically concerning horse welfare in endurance events. ‘The Tribunal’s decision means that the suspension remains in force pending the final outcome of the formal appeal by the UAE National Federation against the suspension’, read an FEI statement.
In its ruling, also published today, the FEI outlined its reasons for the original suspension. These were: fatality of a horse competing during a rest period; other horses not complying with the rest periods; not respecting the age of horses; post mortems; issues to do with the CEI3 Endurance Cup in Dubai, 10 January 2015; and not cooperating with the FEI. The FEI said that it had told the UAE federation on 10 April that it would continue to issue horse passports for non-endurance UAE horses.
‘The Tribunal has further taken note of the FEI’s argument that the FEI Bureau Decision had been taken primarily on Horse welfare grounds, due to consistent rule breaching by the Appellant, the effects of which was jeopardising Horse welfare’, read the FEI ruling. ‘Even though the Tribunal finds that whether or not Horse welfare had been endangered by the Appellant will have to be established and decided together with the merits, the Tribunal can only follow the FEI argumentation that the welfare of Horses is of paramount importance, and should not be risked under any circumstances. The Tribunal therefore finds that the Appellant’s interest in having the suspension lifted does not outweigh the FEI’s interest in protecting Horse welfare.’ The FEI Tribunal said that as horse passports were being issued to UAE horses for non-endurance events, there are no scheduled endurance horse events in the near future and that therefore, there was no pressing reason to lift the suspension until the full case is decided on its merits.
The FEI is conducting a separate investigation into whether fake endurance horse races have been organised in the UAE. The FEI ordered the investigation after the Daily Telegraph provided evidence that two horse endurance races in the UAE – listed on the FEI website as being staged on 23 December and 21 January – never took place, although results were recorded for both races.
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