Eventer Maxime Livio and the French eventing team have been disqualified from last year’s World Equestrian Games — and lose their Olympic qualification spot — after Maxime’s horse tested positive for a controlled medication substance.

Qalao Des Mers (pictured) tested positive for the sedative acepromazine (ACP) on the dressage day at the Games held in Normandy last summer (29 August).

In September it was revealed that the horse — who finished fifth individually at WEG and helped the team to fourth — had tested positive. A and B samples were confirmed.

Today (Thursday 23 March) the FEI Tribunal disqualified Maxime and Qalao Des Mers from the competition.

As the team finished fourth at the event they qualified for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

However, as the FEI Tribunal also disqualified the French team the country loses its Olympic qualifying slot. Canada, which had finished seventh at WEG, moves up a place and qualifies for Rio.

France can now qualify for Rio at this summer’s European Championships or through the FEI individual rankings system.

Samples returned positive for hydroxyethylpromazine sulfoxide — a metabolite of the sedative ACP. ACP is a controlled medication substance on the FEI prohibited substances list, meaning they are often used to treat horses, but they are not allowed in competition.

“Any breach of the FEI’s equine anti-doping and controlled medication regulations means automatic disqualification of the rider/horse combination,” read a statement from the FEI.

“Additionally, at Olympic Games or WEGs, a positive result for a team member will, except in exceptional circumstances, result in the disqualification of the whole team.

“The FEI Tribunal ruled on the disqualification of Maxime Livio and the French eventing team from their placings at WEG following a request from the FEI, due to the implications regarding Olympic qualification. In its partial decision, the Tribunal ruled solely on the disqualifications. A final decision on further sanctions will be issued at a later stage.”

The nations so far qualified for eventing at Rio are Germany, Great Britain, the Netherlands, Australia, Ireland, and Canada.

Brazil, as host nation, earns automatic team qualification for Rio 2016.

Earlier this month a separate case involving Maxime was dropped by the FEI when the B sample from Bingo S, the borrowed horse ridden by Maxime at a showjumping event in Thailand last November, tested negative for testosterone.

  • Mary Elizabeth Paddock

    Cheats should be banned for life.