FEI Meets With German TV Over Doping

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FEI President Princess Haya. © Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
FEI President Princess Haya. © Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

LAUSANNE, Switzerland, Sept. 4–International Equestrian Federation President Princess Haya met with Germany’s public television groups, ARD and ZDF, over the impact of doping on equestrian sports.

The talks were held after a year in which banned substances were found in several jumping and dressage horses, six of them at the 2008 Olympics.

The German television networks provide extensive prime time coverage of equestrian sports, but are reported to have warned of significant cuts in broadcast commitments unless the doping issue is dealt with effectively.

Germany’s and the world’s most prominent horse show, the World Equestrian Festival CHIO at Aachen, took unprecedented anti-doping measures at its annual competition two months ago. The well-publicized program produced no positive tests.

“Due to concerns regarding developments in international equestrian sport, FEI President, HRH Princess Haya, approached ARD chairman and SWR director general Peter Boudgost and ZDF director general Markus Schächter,” the FEI said in a statement.

“All three agree that clear, binding and verifiable mechanisms to control doping need to be introduced.

“These are the decisive prerequisites to restoring the credibility of and public confidence in the sport.

“The introduction of an effective doping control system is also a precondition for ARD and ZDF’s support to equestrian sport,” said Boudgoust and Schächter following the meeting.

The FEI, ARD and ZDF wish to remain in contact regarding the future broadcast of equestrian events on television. The discussions took place in a constructive atmosphere.”