The National Federation of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) once more is in the center of attention. The FEI decided on sanctions following a detailed investigation into the circumstances around two Endurance Events. The events in January and February 2020 – the Sheikh Mohammed Cup and The President’s Cup – were set up as national events, but rules as given in the article 101 of the FEI general regulations were not obeyed. Article 101 says that national events are limited to National Federations and 15 riders with foreign nationality. At both events in question the number of foreign athletes far exceeded the quota permitted for National Eventswere. The events were carried out with a total of 93 and 88 foreign Athletes from 24 / 21 different Nationa Federations.
The FEI board concluded that the UAE NF had violated the FEI Rules, in particular, Articles 101, 109.2 and 100.7.2 of the FEI General Regulations and Article 2.8 of the FEI Statutes. In one case the violation of the rules was deemed to be intentionally to avoid the application of the new FEI Endurance Rules that were scheduled to take effect as of 1 January 2020.
Sanctions for the UAE FN, unanimously agreed upon by the FEI board, include a full suspension of the UAE until 31 December 2020 relevant for all disciplines. In relation to the discipline Endurance the suspension is imposed until 31.March 2021. FEI president Ingmar de Vos commented on the decision: “Regrettably we were forced to suspend the UAE Federation in 2015 following an investigation into Endurance horse welfare issues and non-compliance with FEI Rules and Regulations. It is extremely disheartening that we are tackling similar issues in 2020 and that we have had to revert to the suspension of the National Federation. However, the UAE National Federation’s clear intent to avoid the application of the new Rules at the biggest events in their calendar was reflected in their actions around these two events and, as a community, we cannot allow individual NFs to apply the rules only as and when it suits them.”
The UAE National Federation was notified of the decision by the FEI on 24 September 2020 and has 21 days to appeal the decision to the FEI Tribunal.