Emirates provides plan for endurance reform

gallop-legs-endurance_2546The Emirates Equestrian Federation has provided the FEI with a list of proposals aimed at reforming the sport of endurance in the UAE, as the country works toward having its suspension lifted.

Next year’s world endurance championships will remain in Dubai for now.

The FEI Bureau imposed an interim suspension on the UAE on March 12, citing horse welfare concerns and non-compliance with FEI rules and regulations in endurance.

The UAE initially appealed, but later withdrew it and entered talks with the FEI in a bid resolve the issues between them.

The bureau, which meet in Lausanne, Switzerland, on Tuesday, unanimously agreed to the next step in the UAE’s endurance proposals, which were sent to FEI secretary general Sabrina Zeender last Friday.

The Emirates’ proposals, outlined in a 10-page document include:

  • Creation of an Endurance Committee of Inquiry to oversee full application of the rules;
  • Involvement of the National Olympic Committee and National Anti-Doping Committee;
  • Training and education of athletes, trainers, owners and officials;
  • The possibility to ban organisers for non-compliance with the rules;
  • Ensuring that its national rules were fully in compliance with the FEI rules and regulations;
  • Working more closely with the FEI, including welcoming FEI observers at national events; and
  • Full cooperation with the Equestrian Community Integrity Unit inquiry into the duplication of results at a number of events in the country.

The bureau welcomed the proposals, but agreed that further information was needed before lifting the provisional suspension could be considered.

The FEI said the Emirates federation had accepted that any breach of its reform commitments could result in the suspension being reinstated and the withdrawal of the 2016 FEI World Endurance Championships, allocated to the UAE in December 2014.

The Emirates body also detailed new legislation banning the trade or use of banned substances in horse racing and equestrian sports in the country and the fines set for breaches.

The bureau discussed the UAE’s proposals in detail before reaching unanimous agreement that Zeender and FEI headquarters should work together with the Emirates federation to finalise the agreement.

The bureau would vote on lifting the suspension only when it was completely satisfied that horse welfare would be ensured at all times, that FEI Rules and Regulations would be fully implemented and rigorously enforced, and that all pending issues had been addressed.

“We welcome the proposed agreement of the UAE and see it as a very positive development that they are working to come to a solution,” FEI President Ingmar De Vos said.

“The provisional suspension can only be lifted if there is a clear commitment to respect the rules before the bureau can consider the lifting of the suspension.

“It is clear that more still needs to be done and we require some further work on the details, but their proposals are a very good start to work on the process for reinstatement.”

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