Judges and officials at international shows and events are being encouraged to become “amateur policemen” in the fight against cheating, with the distribution of new “evidence-gathering guidelines” by the FEI.
The FEI ramped up its fight against doping and rule-breaking with a review of legal procedures to close loopholes following the collapse last year of the Sheikh Hamdan/Marmoog horse swap enquiry on a legal technicality.
In a further step, the guidelines emphasise the importance of officials minutely recording dates and times of witnessed incidents.
They recommend carrying resealable plastic bags and labels, a digital camera and disposable gloves, to prevent contamination or accusations of “tampering”.
Judges must not be “afraid” of taking photos, or of recording verbal commentary on video.
By coincidence, the guidelines come the same week as the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) overruled the FEI Tribunal and reduced a 27-month ban for doping on endurance rider Sheikh Hazza of Abu Dhabi to 18 months. His horse Glenmorgan tested postive for banned substances in February 2012.
The FEI’s Equine Community Integrity Unit is provided by Quest, many of whose investigators are retired senior Scotland Yard personnel. But the 15-page guidelines say Quest cannot be present at every show.
“So it is up to you [officials] to correctly obtain and record valuable information,” state the guidelines.
“Any incident should be treated seriously and professionally.
“Any matter has the potential to go to the FEI Tribunal or ultimately the CAS, so the correct action at the offset will go a long way to ensure a fair outcome.”
Ref: H&H 2 July, 2015