Pierre Arnould, a respected figure in international endurance, has been denounced by FEI secretary general Ingmar de Vos after stating publicly it could become a banned sport if the FEI cannot reduce doping and fractures in the Middle East.
Mr Arnould, coach of the Belgian endurance squad and a member of the FEI endurance committee since 2011, told The Daily Telegraph the FEI is not coping with the growing crisis, about which “the press is going wild”.
But Mr de Vos, who revealed committee members have to sign non-disclosure agreements, said Mr Arnould had made “unsubstantiated allegations” without first consulting the FEI.
“As an individual, Pierre Arnould can speak his mind, but he cannot speak on behalf of an FEI committee without consulting its chair and his fellow members,” he said.
“His actions show a total lack of respect. Mr Arnould is in clear breach of this signed agreement and his behaviour is totally unacceptable.
“I am currently looking into whether any further action needs to be undertaken. I state categorically that the FEI is working to address the issues in endurance and has been for some time.”
Sheikh Mohammed’s internal investigations now involve Lord Stevens, former commissioner of the Metropolitan Police.
Despite all this, Mr de Vos claims it is Mr Arnould who has “brought the sport and the FEI into disrepute”.
The Telegraph’s equestrian correspondent Pippa Cuckson, a regular contributor to Horse & Hound, was leaked a copy of Mr Arnould’s recent email to the endurance strategic group and approached him for an interview.
She told the FEI press office that an endurance committee member had disclosed some of the matters from its June meeting. In its written reply, the FEI made no mention that these discussions should be viewed as confidential.