United Arab Emirates Suspended by FEI for Endurance Rules Violations for 2nd Time in 5 Years

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Sept. 25, 2020

The United Arab Emirates national federation has been suspended from competition by the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) for endurance rules violations for the second time in five years.

The suspension was imposed after an investigation into the staging of its two most prestigious endurance competitions–the Sheikh Mohammed Cup and the President’s Cup–that the FEI said should have been held as international events and not national competitions as the number of foreign athletes far exceeded the quota for national events.

A total of 93 foreign athletes from 24 different national federations took part in the 2020 Sheikh Mohammed Cup and total of 88 foreign Athletes from 21 different countries in the 2020 President’s Cup.

FEI rules covering national endurance events limit participants to no more than four nations and or more than 15 foreign Athletes aside from “Athletes living outside their country of nationality.”

An FEI board hearing, the governing body said in a statement Friday, found that for the Sheikh Mohammed Cup “the violations were deemed intentional, and in the case of the President’s Cup, the violations were considered at the very least negligent.”

The Board also concluded the reason for re-classifying the events as national competitions “was to avoid the application” of new FEI endurance rules scheduled to take effect Jan. 1 2020.

The FEI described the violations as “serious” and imposed a suspension across all FEI disciplines from Sept. 24 to Dec. 31 2020 and for endurance until Mar. 31 2021.

The UAE has 39 endurance riders on the FEI world rankings and 23 on jumping world standings but none in dressage, para dressage, driving, eventing, reining or vaulting.

The UAE federation has 21 days to appeal the decision to the FEI Tribunal.