World equestrian body lifts UAE suspension after endurance race probe
LAUSANNE (Switzerland) - The United Arab Emirates has been reinstated in the International Equestrian Federation (FEI).
The agreement has been signed by FEI President Ingmar De Vos and Secretary General Sabrina Zeender, and by EEF President HE Sheikh Dr Sultan Bin Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Secretary General Taleb Dhaher Al Mheiri, and Mohammad Al Kamali, Secretary General of the UAE National Olympic Committee.
The EEF was provisionally suspended by the FEI Bureau in mid-March following an investigation by the FEI into major horse welfare issues and non-compliance with FEI Rules and Regulations in Endurance in the UAE.
“We are very pleased that, after four months of very hard work, the United Arab Emirates have demonstrated with the signature of this agreement that they are fully committed to ensuring horse welfare and complying with FEI rules at both international and national level in the country”, FEI Secretary General Sabrina said.
“They are absolutely committed to making this work so that they can return to playing an active and leading role in Endurance once again and, to demonstrate that commitment, they have included the UAE’s highest sporting body, the National Olympic Committee, in the agreement.”
"We are very pleased that the FEI Bureau has unanimously agreed to lift the suspension based on the considerable actions and solutions we have put in place together”, EEF Secretary General Taleb Dhaher Al Mheiri said.
“We will continue to work with them to ensure all their requirements are applied in endurance racing across the UAE. As the governing body of equestrian sports in the UAE, we take our responsibility seriously. It is our goal to pursue excellence while promoting the growth of the sport and safeguarding the welfare of equine and human athletes,” he added.
The FEI says the three-year binding agreement includes monthly monitoring reports during the next endurance season.
The UAE risks suspension and being stripped of hosting the World Endurance Championships in 2016 if the agreement is broken, the FEI says.
The governing body suspended the federation in March after investigating horse deaths and doping in long-distance desert races.
Its disciplinary tribunal will also study an inquiry report on alleged faked races and results for endurance events in the UAE.
The governing body promises to sanction "any FEI officials found to be involved."