The UAE has been suspended in all FEI disciplines until the New Year and endurance events until the end of March in an attempt to circumvent the rules.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) have been suspended by the World Equestrian Federation for holding two international long distance competitions as national events in order to circumvent new rules.
The International Equestrian Federation (FEI) announced the ban on Friday and suspended the UAE in all FEI disciplines until the New Year and in endurance competitions until March 31, 2021.
The UAE has 21 days to appeal the decision.
It is the second time in five years that the UAE has been sanctioned by the FEI. In 2015 it was suspended for the well-being of endurance horses.
An independent investigation found that two national endurance events in January and February, the Sheikh Mohammed Cup and the President’s Cup, far exceeded the quota of foreign drivers eligible for national competitions and should have taken place as international events.
FEI noted that the reason for reclassifying the events into national competitions was to avoid the application of the new endurance rules, which were due to come into effect from January 1, 2020.
The UAE national federation is also required to pay a percentage of the organization fees that would have gone to the FEI if the events had been held as international competitions, as well as the FEI’s legal costs and a financial penalty where a percentage of the prize money goes to the FEI World association.
“It is extremely disheartening that we had to deal with similar issues in 2020 and fall back on the suspension of the National Federation,” FEI President Ingmar De Vos said in a statement.
“However, the clear intention of the UAE National Federation to avoid applying the new rules to the major events on their calendar was reflected in their actions related to these two events. As a community, we cannot allow individual NFs to apply the rules only as and when it suits them. “