FEI: Decision on German Olympic Medication Cases

Goldfever 3 and Ludger Beerbaum of Germany--2004 Athens Olympic Games
Following a hearing held in Zurich (SUI) on Dec. 2, the FEI Judicial Committee determined that there had been a breach of FEI General Regulations Art. 146.2 at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens relating to the presence of the prohibited substance betamethasone in the horse Goldfever 3.

It had been admitted during the hearing by the Person Responsible that he had treated the horse Goldfever 3 with a skin ointment and in error had not implemented the formal requirements provided by the veterinary regulations.

The FEI Judicial Committee accepted that the medication afforded to the horse had been "legitimate treatment" within the meaning of FEI General Regulations Art 174.7.3 in that it had been treatment for the welfare of the horse arising from a skin irritation of the near forefoot. Furthermore the FEI Judicial Committee accepted the statement of the Person Responsible (PR) that it had not been his intention to cause a breach of regulations.

Having regard to the strict liability provisions of the FEI General Regulations Art. 146.2 necessary to ensure sporting fairness to all competitors and the provisions of FEI General Regulations Art. 146.3, the FEI Judicial Committee was of the opinion that it had no other option than to disqualify the horse Goldfever 3 from all competitions at the Olympic Games Athens 2004.

A fine of CHF 1,500.--was imposed on the Person Responsible because of the breach of the reporting duties, and the Person Responsible is liable to pay CHF 750.--for the cost of the analysis of the B-sample.

The FEI Judicial Committee was of the opinion that this case highlighted the desirability of the FEI to revisit its entire medication policy in order to distinguish between legitimate treatment used to assist the welfare of horses before and during competition and medication which is used in order to enhance performance and gain an unfair advantage in competition or treatments which endanger the horse's welfare. In this case the FEI Judicial Committee had found no evidence that the Person Responsible had either risked the horse's welfare or gained any advantage during the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.

Ringwood Cockatoo and Bettina Hoy of Germany
During a hearing held in Zurich on Dec. 2, the FEI Judicial Committee was presented with testimony by the German team veterinarian. He had been given verbal approval by a veterinarian in the Olympic Veterinary Clinic for the use of a cream for treatment of lumps on the back of the horse Ringwood Cockatoo at the 2004 Olympic Games Athens.

The Judicial Committee is conscious of the failure by the PR to implement the regulations concerning declaration of treatment. Nevertheless, the Judicial Committee is of the view that the consultation contributed to or facilitated the use of the cream in question and, as a consequence, the finding of the prohibited substance, hydroxy diphenhydramine in the horse Ringwood Cockatoo.

The FEI Judicial Committee also considered that the administrators of the Olympic veterinary clinic had not provided appropriate information to the German team veterinarian when consulted before the cream was used.

The Judicial Committee concluded that it would make no finding against Hoy, who was not disqualified. No sanction was applied.

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