An endurance rider from the United Arab Emirates has received a two-year ban from the FEI for a doping infraction, adding another case to the Middle East’s sorry record of endurance drug breaches in recent years.
The case, involving Mohd Ali Al Shafar, is sure to add fuel further to the controversy around fracture rates and doping breaches centred on the Middle East.
Complaints from several European national federations have resulted in several FEI initiatives, but some officials believe the world governing body is not moving swiftly enough.
The case involving Al Shafar relates to his win on February 16 in a CEI3* 160km President’s Cup race in Abu Dhabi. His mount, Orman De Cardonne, took the victory in six hours, six minutes and 24 seconds, clocking an average speed of 26kmh for the race.
The horse’s A blood sample, taken that day, tested positive for an anabolic steroid, 17-alpha-hydroxyprogesterone hexanoate, the FEI tribunal, comprising, Randi Haukebo, Jens Adolphsen and Henrik Arle was told.
Al Shafar requested analysis of the B sample at a different laboratory. This was carried out and was similarly found to be positive for the drug.
Al Shafar was asked to explain, and in submissions to the FEI said that no medication containing the substance in question had been available at the AI Reeh endurance stable, where the horse had been stabled.
Al Shafar said that, in general, no medication containing any prohibited substances had been at his disposal at the stable, as he and everybody else at the stable strongly believed in true and fair sporting activities.
He said he did not wish to provide any further explanations regarding the positive finding to the tribunal, but asked that it took into consideration that no horse from the AI Reeh endurance stable had ever tested positive in the past.
“The tribunal finds that the PR has not provided any explanations on how the 17-alpha-hydroxyprogesterone hexanoate entered the horse’s system,” the tribunal said in its October 22 ruling.
It disqualified Orman De Cardonne and Al Shafar from the competition, ruling that and all medals, points and prize money won must be forfeited.
It noted that Al Shafar was a first offender.
He was banned from competition for two years and ordered to pay one thousand Swiss Francs towards legal costs, as well as the cost of the B-Sample analysis.
Al Shafar has a right of appeal.