Princess Haya faces opposition to continue as FEI president

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  • H&H has learnt that there are moves to stop Princess Haya from standing for a third term as president of the International Equestrian Federation (FEI).

    The FEI’s attempts to reduce doping offences in endurance are undermined by a “conflict of interest” in the “highest appointment of the FEI”, according to Charles Trolliet, head of the Swiss Equestrian Federation.

    Princess Haya is the junior wife of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, ruler of Dubai. More than 20 positive doping tests since 2005 have involved horses trained in stables owned by the Maktoum family.

    Sheikh Mohammed himself was given a six-month endurance ban after a positive steroids test in 2009.

    Earlier this year, Sheikh Mohammed’s Moulton Paddocks racing stables in Newmarket were caught up in a doping scandal when several horses tested positive for banned anabolic steroids.

    Mr Trolliet told H&H that the Swiss and Dutch federations will now oppose changes to the FEI Statutes that would allow Princess Haya to stand for another four-years when her second term ends in 2014.

    The proposal is due to be discussed at the FEI General Assembly in Montreux, Switzerland, in November.

    Mr Trolliet’s announcement follows the growing disquiet and controversy over the FEI’s endurance strategic planning group, which was established to tackle high incidences of doping and injuries in Middle Eastern endurance.

    He is upset that, at some point, the “clean-up” operation appears to have morphed into something else.

    “The purpose seems to be more of a strategy to develop the sport, rather than solve the problems we described,” he told H&H.

    He is also unhappy that members of the group are “not neutral” and too close to FEI hierarchy.

    They include Saeed Al Tayer, who is closely involved with Sheikh Mohammed’s racing as well as endurance operations. The other members are Brian Sheehan, a vet and chair of the FEI endurance committee; Joe Mattingly, chair of the US endurance high-performance committee, and French vet Jean-Luis Leclerc.

    A version of this story appeared in Horse & Hound 19 September 2013



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