Rodney Powell is the latest rider to successfully appeal against a British Olympic Association (BOA) bye-law which states that “any person found guilty of a doping offence is ineligible for consideration as a future member of the Great Britain Olympic Team”.
The FEI confirmed in January that traces of betamethasone and phenylbutazone (bute) were found in a urine sample taken from Major Sweep, Rodney Powell’s ride at the Burghley Masterfoods Horse Trials last September. As a result, horse and rider were disqualified from the event.
While Rodney was aware that betamethasone (an anti-inflammatory steroid that can be injected into joints) had been administered, he has always maintained that this was carried out according to FEI guidelines. The presence of bute had been a mystery.
The case ruled in Powell’s favour in early March. Bute was thought to have been present in the sample due to contamination, and since neither of the drugs were performance-enhancing substances, the British event rider was only ordered to pay a fine and costs.
Peter Durrant, chief executive of British Eventing, explains: “Having examined all the veterinary evidence, the FEI found that there was no intent. Rodney was therefore fined and made to pay costs.
“As far as the BOA were concerned, since there was no intent and since they were not performance-enhancing drugs, it was a minor offence and a lifelong ban seemed inappropriate. He is therefore still eligible to go to Athens as part of the British team.”
Rodney has been long-listed for the British Olympic eventing team with Colour-Coded.
Other riders who have recently successfully campaigned against the same BOA bye-law include Tim Stockdale and Di Lampard.