Ulla Salzgeber has been stripped of her World Cup title and fined 2,500 Swiss francs (approx £1,100) by the FEI, following a blood test which showed that Rusty exceeded the FEI’s permitted levels of testosterone at the World Cup final in Gothenberg earlier this year.
Evidence presented to the FEI revealed that Ulla’s vet administered 25mg of testosterone propionate to treat Rusty for some patchy hair loss, which may have been caused by a hormone imbalance, 13 days before the start of the World Cup Final.
Ulla has claimed throughout that she had no knowledge of Rusty receiving any treatment from her vet in the run up to the World Cup final and the FEI has accepted this to be the truth.
The FEI statement says: “The Judicial Committee accepts that Ulla did not know that Rusty had undergone any treatment prior to the event . . . [and] determines that Ulla has not taken any intentional action to deliberately affect the performance of the horse.”
It goes on to explain there is no evidence Rusty received any competitive advantage due to the testosterone levels in his blood.
However, under the FEI’s strict policy against doping, which doesn’t require “intent” or for “any competitive advantage” to be demonstrated, Ulla has still failed to ensure that Rusty had no prohibited substances in his system before an international event, and so has been stripped of her title.
The FEI has also decided that Ulla should not receive a suspention due to her otherwise blameless record, combined with the fact she was unaware the treatment had been administered and had put in place procedures which normally would have ensured she was informed of any veterinary treatment.
It states: “The judicial committee is not claiming that Ulla knew about the treatment, authorised it or received any advantage as a result, therefore Ulla’s prominent reputation must remain unaffected.”
Ulla has also been ordered to pay legal costs of 1,000 Swiss francs to the FEI.
The German Federation believes it is unlikely that Ulla will appeal against the FEI’s decision, although she has not yet released a statement. It is currently deciding whether it’s own commission of discipline will take any action against her.
The FEI’s decision means that America’s Debbie McDonald (Brentina) will now be crowned the 2003 World Champion with the silver medal going to Germany’s Heike Kemmer (Albano). America’s Jerez team silver medallists Guenther Seidel (Nikolaus) are the new bonze medalists.