Just over half of the FEI’s National Federations tuned in for the anti-doping rules session at the FEI Online General Assembly 2020 this weekend.
Of the 137 National Federations registered with horse sport’s world governing body, 109 registered for this year’s online version of the annual General Assembly, and just 70 joined the rules sessions on Saturday. Those federations which did take part were joined by the Asian Equestrian Federation (AEF) and the International Eventing Officials Club (IEOC), both of which have Memorandums of Understanding with the FEI.
The rules session covering proposed modifications to the FEI Anti-Doping Rules for Human Athletes (ADRHAs) and the FEI Equine Anti-Doping and Controlled Medication Regulations (EADCMR) was led by FEI Legal Director Mikael Rentsch and Deputy Legal Director Aine Power, from FEI Headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland. Other FEI directors were also involved in the second session, which looked at proposed amendments to the FEI General Regulations, discipline-specific rules and veterinary regulations. Delegates had the opportunity to ask questions during both sessions.
As a signatory to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Code, the FEI is obliged to revise its Rules for both Equine and Human Athletes to align with the new Code, which comes into effect on January 1, 2021. National Federations now have a duty to report potential violations to the FEI, and Persons Responsible, Support Personnel as well as Organising Committees must be compliant with the Rules and cooperate with any investigations.
Anti-doping and contamination
The FEI has proposed to expand the concept of Atypical Findings (ATF) in the new EADCMRs. This follows requests from National Federations for the equine anti-doping system to be more flexible when contamination is suspected
ATFs will be dealt with according to a specific policy approved by the FEI Board in October 2020. Decisions on ATFs will be taken by an ATF Panel, which will have an independent chairperson to be appointed by the FEI Board.
The FEI Legal Director highlighted the new rules on Substances of Abuse, those that are frequently abused in society outside of sport such as heroin, cocaine, ecstacy and THC. If an athlete can establish that the use of such substances occurred out-of-competition and was unrelated to sport performance, the period of ineligibility is reduced to a flat three months with no argument over No Significant Fault/Negligence.
An athlete would have the opportunity of further reducing the period of ineligibility to one month by completing a rehabilitation programme.
Among the rules discussed at the second session was a revision relating to the invitation process for team Driving Events (CAIOs) where National Federations are invited according to the previous World Championships team results.
Delegates from the National Federations of Germany, France and the USA felt that it would not be realistic to apply this Rule change in 2021 as there was no Driving World Championship held in 2020 and the number of nations that could compete would be restricted. This point will be included in the full Rules revision next year and will also be raised with the FEI Board as a potential Emergency Board Resolution needed.
All proposed amendments to the FEI General Regulations, FEI Discipline Rules and Veterinary Regulations will be voted on at the FEI Online General Assembly on November 23, 2020. Delegates will also elect candidates for several key positions.