The FEI has announced that, following completion of an in-depth investigation into allegations of a switch of horses by Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum during the 2012 FEI World Endurance Championships in Euston Park (GBR), no legal action can be taken for procedural reasons and due to a lack of conclusive evidence.
The FEI’s statement reads:
Following receipt of the findings of the investigation last month, the FEI has now evaluated the legal and procedural aspects of the case and it has become clear that, under the rules applicable at the time of the incident in 2012, essential deadlines were missed. Without legal proceedings being initiated within the specified timelines and through the correct channels, the FEI is unable to proceed with the case.
“It is very disappointing that it took such a long time to come to this conclusion”, FEI Secretary General Ingmar De Vos said, “but this thorough investigation has allowed us to identify some loopholes in our own procedures with regard to the identification of horses through microchips and documents such as FEI passports, recognition cards and duplicates. I have asked our Legal Department to look at our procedures to identify how we can avoid similar issues occurring in the future.”
Prior to receiving the final report, the FEI had already initiated a detailed review of its administrative processes, putting mechanisms in place that now provide much greater control over the registration and identification of horses. Further proposed changes to the Veterinary Regulations to improve traceability and accurate verification of horses’ identity will be voted on at next month’s FEI General Assembly.
The FEI is to conduct a full review of its legal system in 2015, including its rules and sanctions. Proposals for change will go to the FEI Bureau for consideration prior to being voted on by the National Federations at the 2015 FEI General Assembly.