The Dutch equestrian federation has sacked its successful endurance coach Emile Docquier in the midst of allegations of fraud over a permit issued to UAE-based Pakistani endurance trainer Anzaq Mehmood.
The federation says it has parted company with Docquier due to “difference of opinion.” However, their decision came just days after it emerged that the permit, allegedly issued by the Pakistan federation, accompanied entries for a national ride at Schilde, Belgium sent in by Docquier’s office.
Dutch endurance enjoyed a boost last year after collaborating with Mehmood, who trains for the Al Qasimi family in Dubai. Mehmood – who has spent time in the UK, at King’s Forest – prepared Laiza de Jalima, with whom Marijke Visser won individual silver at WEG.
UAE riders are currently barred from competing overseas, following the suspension of the UAE national federation by the FEI after a succession of welfare scandals. But foreign nationals in the UAE, such as Mehmood, may compete if they apply to be “administered” by their country of origin.
On 26 April, Mehmood arrived at Schilde, but the Belgian federation barred him from starting because of their suspicions. A spokesman for the Pakistan federation told H&H they did not issue the permit, which is dated 5 January, 11 weeks before the UAE suspension.
A FEI spokesman said: “The Belgian federation contacted the FEI to enquire whether they could accept this rider for a CEN. The FEI responded that, given that the athlete was Pakistani and provided he had the authorisation of the Pakistan federation, that would be possible.
“In the meantime the Belgian and Pakistan federation came to the conclusion that the authorisation document presented was falsified.”
The Dutch have been strong critics of UAE endurance, so their collaboration proved controversial, and Dutch endurance technical director Marc van den Dungen resigned in protest shortly before WEG.
Last week (13 May), the Dutch published the results of a separate investigation into Mehmood, resulting from earlier allegations about doping made by van den Dungen.
Mehmood trained a horse that tested positive to the anabolic steroid testosterone in 2012, which resulted in the rider Sheikh Abdul Al Qasimi receiving a two-year ban.
The federation said van den Dungen’s criticisms were “unfounded.”