UAE issues law against doping in horse races

The new rule prohibits the administration of banned substances to horses and lays out strict penalties to offenders.



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The UAE has issued a new law to combat the use of banned substances in horse racing or other equestrian sport events that are held in the country, state news agency WAM reported.

As per the law, it is prohibited to inject or give horses any sort of banned substance unless there is a specific licence from the ministry.

It will also be considered unlawful for owners to refuse to test their horses or to try to manipulate doping tests.

The new rule bans the trading and distribution of prohibited substances, the statement added. Although exceptions can be made if the substance is pre-cleared by authorities as part of treatment for a condition.

Those found violating the law will face a fine of at between Dhs 20,000 and Dhs 200,000.

This will be doubled if the violation is repeated within three years of the previous offence, to a maximum of Dhs 500,000.

Authorities will also have the power to prohibit the offender from participating or working in horse racing and other equestrian sports, close down the establishment or cancel their license for a maximum of three years.

In cases of repeated violation, the offender could also be removed from the records of horse racing, WAM said.

The UAE has been trying to clamp down on cheating in equestrian sports after Dubai-based stables Godolphin was hit by a doping scandal in 2013.

The stable of Dubai Ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, came under public scrutiny after the British Horse racing Authority banned one of its trainers, Mahmood al-Zarooni.

He was accused for administering anabolic steroids to horses at his Moulton Paddock stables in Newmarket.

The UK government subsequently seized a quantity of unlicensed veterinary goods from a Dubai government jet.

This eventually led to the closure of Zarooni’s stables and an internal investigation into the incident and the Dubai ruler’s global equine interests, led by former London police chief Lord Stevens

Lord Stevens’ report cleared Sheikh Mohammed of any wrongdoing and concluded that Zarooni had acted alone.

The UAE was thrown back into spotlight again this year after the FEI suspended the country from races over horse welfare concerns and rule infringements in endurance events.

Under the ban UAE riders will not be allowed to compete for their country in any international events, although they will be allowed to compete under an FEI flag in non-endurance disciplines outside of the Emirates.