An initial meeting between the FEI and representatives of the United Arab Emirates National Olympic Committee and National Federation was held at FEI Headquarters in Lausanne (SUI) on May 26th to discuss the actions that need to be undertaken by the UAE National Federation before the FEI Bureau can consider lifting the suspension currently imposed on the UAE National Federation.
The FEI Bureau provisionally suspended the UAE National Federation in March of this year following an investigation by the FEI into major horse welfare issues and non-compliance with FEI Rules and Regulations in the discipline of Endurance.
Today’s meeting was chaired by FEI Secretary General Sabrina Zeender. The FEI was also represented by Brian Sheahan, Chair of the FEI Endurance Committee, Manuel Bandeira de Mello, FEI Endurance Director, and Mikael Rentsch, FEI Legal Director. The UAE delegation was made up of Taleb Daher Al Muhairi, Secretary General of the Emirates Equestrian Federation, Faisal Al Ali, Assistant Secretary General, and Abdullaziz Sheikh, Head of the Endurance Department.
“This was a very constructive meeting, during which we informed the National Federation exactly what they need to do before there can be any possibility of the suspension being lifted”, FEI Secretary General Sabrina Zeender said. “We are now writing to them to explain all the elements they need to fulfil and requesting a detailed plan on how they will deliver on this and the timelines involved. The meeting, which we hope was the first in a series, was only possible following the withdrawal of the UAE’s appeal against the suspension.”
The FEI made it clear to the UAE delegation that only the FEI Bureau can lift the suspension and confirmed that the suspension will remain in force until the Bureau has agreed that all necessary processes have been put in place by the UAE National Federation to ensure horse welfare at all times and that FEI Rules and Regulations will be fully implemented and enforced.
Prior to the meeting, FEI President Ingmar De Vos had welcomed to FEI Headquarters Mohammad Al Kamali, Secretary General of the UAE National Olympic Committee, who had accompanied the UAE National Federation representatives to Lausanne. Neither Mr De Vos nor Mr Al Kamali attended today’s meeting.