FEI must find ways to impose sanctions, says Swiss federation

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eye-stockThe Swiss Equestrian Federation has responded to the furore in endurance following the death of Splitters Creek Bundy in the Al Reef Cup race in Abu Dhabi, saying the FEI must find ways to apply sanctions against national federations.

The Swiss body, responding to what it called the dramatic incidents of recent weeks, especially during the Al Reef Cup, expressed its outrage.

It called on the FEI to examine the endurance situation, both in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, and to take immediate and effective action.

The Al Reef Cup was run under the national rules of the United Arab Emirates Equestrian Federation, limiting the jurisdiction of the FEI.

The FEI, which described incidents such as the demise of Splitters Creek Bundy from two broken forelegs as completely unacceptable, has asked for a report from the UAE Federation. The world governing body called its investigation a top priority.

However, it was widely criticised in social media for being slow to respond, having done so amid a rising wave of condemnation.

The Swiss federation said in a statement that the welfare of the horse came first.

“As the governing body of equestrian sports, the FEI must find ways to enable the application of sanctions against national federations, which tolerate mistreatment during their national races,” it said.

The Swiss body said it reserved the right to not attend the Elite Endurance World Championships next year in Dubai.

It said incidents in endurance within the FEI’s Group VII, which covers much of the Middle East, had indicated in “dramatic proportions” that last year’s endurance reforms instituted by the FEI had not been adopted by all national associations, nor had they been sufficiently enforced by the FEI officials.

The federation called on the FEI to take urgent and appropriate action.

“Given the dramatic incidents of recent weeks, the Danish Federation has already issued a conditional start ban for its riders on events of the group VII of the FEI,” the Swiss body noted.

It said it strongly advised its endurance riders not to start in races in these countries. “Taking part in such races is currently incompatible with membership of the Swiss elite team,” it said.

Under the existing circumstances, it was impossible for the nation to compete at the elite world endurance championships in 2016 in Dubai (UAE). It had reserved its decision on the question.

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