Bute will be allowed in horse sport around the world from 1 January 2010.
National federations have this morning voted in favour of adopting the “progressive list”, on which low levels of phenylbutazone (bute), flunixin and salicyclic acid (aspirin) will be allowed in competition.
There were gasps of shock and dismay as, out of 102 votes cast, 53 voted for the progressive list, 42 for the current list and 7 abstained.
The FEI has set the level to allow for a small single dose of one of the three non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to be given 24 hours before a competition. The doses have been set to ease muscle stiffness but, supposedly, not to mask a problem such as arthritis.
But FEI director Graeme Cooke declined to comment on whether the new rule would be open to abuse, and allow for a small dose of bute to be given on the day of competition. He added: “We need to do more research”.
Britain voted against allowing NSAIDs in competition.
British Equestrian Federation chief executive Andrew Finding explained: “We voted against the adoption of the progressive list. Not because it isn’t worthy of consideration but as there was insufficient time to consider and debate the issues fully and to consult with our member bodies and experts on the implications.”
The clean sport recommendations and rules were this morning adopted by overwhelming majority, just before the national federations voted to adopt the progressive list.
• To read in-depth reaction and what this means for you, see next week’s Horse & Hound (26 November).