News 12th March 2015

FEI suspends UAE federation

The Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) today suspended the Emirates Equestrian Federation (EEF), after an investigation into horse welfare and non-compliance with FEI rules. The suspension is connected to a 26 February decision to remove the two remaining United Arab Emirates (UAE) endurance horse events from the FEI calendar, following concerns over horse welfare. The FEI was keen to stress that the suspension is not connected to yesterday’s confirmation that it would be investigating allegations that a number of races had not taken place.

‘The FEI Bureau has suspended the National Federation of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for an indeterminate period following an investigation by the FEI into major horse welfare issues and non-compliance with FEI Rules and Regulations in the discipline of Endurance’, read an FEI statement. ‘The UAE National Federation has been notified of the suspension by the FEI Secretary General today, 12 March 2015. The UAE Federation has 30 days to appeal the suspension to the FEI Tribunal.’

The FEI said that the suspension would prohibit EEF members from entering any international events, and the EEF from organising any international events. ‘However, the Bureau has ruled that UAE athletes from disciplines other than Endurance may compete under the FEI flag in international competitions organised outside the UAE’, read its statement. Any reinstatement is dependent on the EEF signing an agreement with the FEI to undertake all action that the FEI deems necessary, and to assure the FEI that it is protecting horse welfare and complying with FEI rules.

The Bureau has clearly outlined to the UAE Federation that any potential reinstatement to FEI membership is dependent on the UAE Federation signing an agreement with the FEI under which the UAE Federation pledges to take such action as the FEI Bureau deems necessary to assure the FEI and all stakeholders that the UAE Federation is protecting the welfare of the horse and complying fully with the FEI Rules and Regulations.

“We were confident that strict enforcement of the new rules implemented on 1 August 2014 following adoption of the recommendations from the Endurance Strategic Planning Group would be effective in reducing the numbers of catastrophic injuries and fatalities in the UAE, but regretfully this has not been the case”, said FEI President Ingmar De Vos. “There have also been other major non-compliance issues, so in the end we had no other choice than taking this drastic measure to deal with an unacceptable situation.”

The Dubai World Cup (pictured), held at the Meydan racecourse in January, falls under EEF jurisdiction. It is widely held to be the richest horseracing event in the international calendar, carrying a purse of US$10 million.

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