A ban imposed on the UAE has been lifted by the FEI.

The news came today (Monday, 27 July).

The Emirates Equestrian Federation (EEF) was suspended in an unprecedented move in March after an investigation into “major horse welfare issues” and “non-compliance with FEI rules and regulations” in endurance.

However, now a “legally binding agreement” between the FEI bureau and the EEF guarantees that horse welfare will be “fully respected and that FEI rules will be stringently enforced”.

After work between the two parties an “extensive list” of actions have been agreed upon — including protocols being put in place to avoid equine fatalities and applicable rest periods.

The EEF must also provide monthly written reports to prove the compliance.

“We are very pleased that the UAE has demonstrated it is fully committed to ensuring horse welfare and complying with FEI rules,” said FEI secretary general Sabrina Zeender.

“It is absolutely committed to making this work so that they can return to playing an active and leading role in endurance once again.”

The EEF’s Taleb Dhaher Al Mheiri added: “We take our responsibility seriously. It is our goal to pursue excellence while promoting the growth of the sport and safeguarding the welfare of equine and human athletes.”

The FEI has also commissioned the Equestrian Community Integrity Unit (ECIU) to conduct an extensive inquiry into allegations of fake events and duplicate results in the UAE.

This was not part of the suspension and was dealt with independently. However, the report is now being reviewed by the FEI and will be submitted to the FEI Tribunal for further action. Sanctions will be taken against any FEI officials found to be involved and all duplicated results will be annulled.

The EEF is “restructuring its organisational policies” to ensure that similar events cannot occur again. If they do the suspension could be reinstated and the 2016 FEI World Endurance Championships, which are due to be held in Dubai in mid-December next year, could be withdrawn.