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Clean Sport on Dope - BEF Statement on Clean Sport

ABig ANormal ASmall


The British Equestrian Federation (BEF) applauds the decisions made by the General Assembly of the Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI) in relation to Clean Sport with one major exception.

The leadership shown by the FEI to improve matters in the field of anti-doping over the last eighteen months has been excellent.  In particular the work undertaken by the two FEI Clean Sport commissions, led by Lord Stevens and Professor Ljungqvist, and the effective consultation has been right for our time.  The recommendations made by the BEF in relation to education, intelligence based testing, greater clarity on banned substances and harmonization of laboratories all, happily, find a place in the final conclusions.

However, we are deeply disappointed that this outstanding work has been completely overshadowed by the General Assembly's adoption of the "progressive list" of banned substances.  This list includes a range of drugs that, while banned in principle, are now permitted up to a limited threshold level  where as, for many years, they have been entirely banned for use in competition.  Specifically, the "progressive list" allows Acetylcysteine, Dichloroacetate (Lactanase), and Isoxuprine.  Further, it allows Phenylbutazone (up to 8 mcg/ml in plasma or serum), Salicyclic acid (up to 750mcg/ml in urine and up to 6.5 mcg/ml in plasma or serum) and Flunixin (up to 500 mcg/ml in plasma or serum,) so long as those substances are not detected in a horse's sample above the prescribed limits noted and are used in isolation and not combined.

We are deeply concerned by this development.  The "progressive list" was sent to the national federations of the FEI on Friday 13 November, just six days before the day of the General Assembly on Thursday 19 November.  There was no time for consultation, effective global debate or consideration of the serious implications of the dramatic policy change placed before the General Assembly.  We have doubts about the legitimacy of the vote taken in light of the failure in timely notification of the resolution in question.  We do not believe that all national federations could have been alert to the vital issues for the future of our sport when they were asked to vote on the earlier list, sent to national federations on 20 October (subsequently renamed the 'Current List' which added further ambiguity), and the later "progressive list".

We therefore urge the FEI's leadership to review the situation with the greatest possible urgency and either:

    - defer the date of introduction of the "progressive list" of the key banned substances until after the 2010 World Equestrian Games to allow for a period of reflection and consultation


    - withdraw the permissibility of the drugs in question from the "progressive list" before the published implementation date of 1 January 2010.

Andrew Finding, BEF's Chief Executive, said:

"Never before have we seen so much anger in our sport in Great Britain. It is deeply saddening that the very good work undertaken by the FEI in Clean Sport, and in other areas, is not recognised for its excellence. Of course there are differences of opinions amongst nations and within in the FEI, it could not be otherwise in a highly competitive sporting body. The majority of nations present voted in favour of the "progressive list" and we must respect the democratic processes but on this occasion, the proposal was "bounced" on national federations at unacceptably short notice and so we have a deeply flawed decision and a crisis of confidence on our hands.  There is a universal demand from our community in Great Britain for change or amendment to the "progressive list".  Its abolition and replacement by the "20 October list" would be better still."

He added:

"While this crisis unfolds and a satisfactory conclusion is sought, we encourage our sporting bodies, welfare groups, show and event organisers and their sponsors to maintain their programmes and plans in place.  We will continue to use all means at our disposal to impress upon the FEI the necessity for change and will accordingly work with our partner NFs in Europe and elsewhere.  We have established a small working group of experts to consider the issues at hand, to monitor developments and provide advice.  We will publish a set of recommendations for publication that covers all of the implications of the Clean Sport initiatives shortly."

British Equestrian Federation

30th November 2009

For original statement on BEF website, please click here.


Extra comment from as a result of worldwide protest, the time of introduction of the progressive list was delayed to 1 April 2010, and next to November 2010.

Please find more information under links below:

Clean Sport on Dope - Introduction

Petition against the progressive list
Q and A concerning the progressive list
Article in Horse and Hound
Two articles presenting what vets thinks of the progressive list: 1 and 2 (click on numbers)

A wrap-up on the issue ofthe progressive list