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Court of Arbitration for Sport upholds FEI Tribunal Decision imposing 10-year suspension for horse abuse case

Court of Arbitration for Sport upholds FEI Tribunal Decision imposing 10-year suspension for horse abuse case

Following lengthy appeal proceedings, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has confirmed and upheld the FEI Tribunal’s decision in the case against Andrew Kocher delivered in June 2021, which saw the US Athlete suspended for 10 years for the use of electric spurs on several horses throughout a prolonged period of time.

Other sanctions in the FEI Tribunal decision rendered two years ago, also included the disqualification of results from eight FEI events between June 2018 and November 2019 where evidence supported the athlete’s use of electric spurs on horses, alongside a CHF 10,000 fine and legal costs to the amount of CHF 7,500. Kocher appealed the said FEI Tribunal decision on 1 July 2021, seeking to eliminate or otherwise reduce the sanctions imposed.

The FEI Tribunal decision was the result of a lengthy investigation by the FEI, starting in June 2020 following allegations of electric spur use reported to the independent Equestrian Community Integrity Unit (ECIU). It was alleged that Kocher had used electric spurs on a number of FEI registered and national horses in international and national events, and during training.

Upon the conclusion of the investigation, the FEI formally opened disciplinary proceedings against Kocher in October 2020. During the proceeding before the FEI Tribunal, it was also discovered that Kocher instructed his employees to use the electric spurs on specific horses. For that purpose, Kocher provided to his employees several electric spurs devices which he manufactured himself.

In its decision, the CAS Panel reached the same conclusion as the FEI Tribunal, to the effect that a ten-year suspension was merited, during which Kocher is barred from participating in or attending, in any capacity, including as a spectator, any competition or event that is authorised or organised by the FEI or any National Federation. The provisional suspension served by Kocher since 28 October 2020 shall be credited against this period of suspension, which will therefore come to an end on 27 October 2030. The CHF 10,000 fine was also upheld and Kocher is furthermore ordered to pay costs of CHF 7,500.

We are extremely satisfied with this outcome and that the sanctions the FEI Tribunal imposed, to reflect the severity of the offenses committed by Mr Kocher, have been upheld by CAS”, said FEI Legal Director Mikael Rentsch. 

It may have taken two years to complete this process, but it confirms that we had the right decision to start with, and that there is no room for leniency when it comes to cases of horse abuse. 

We have rules and regulations in place to protect the integrity of our competitions and the wellbeing of our horses, and when these rules are breached and their welfare is jeopardised, we will continue to seek to impose maximum sentences.”

The full CAS decision is available here.

The FEI Tribunal Decision is available here.

FEI Tribunal issues Consent Award for failure to submit sample collection

FEI Tribunal issues Consent Award for failure to submit sample collection

The FEI Tribunal has issued a Consent Award under the FEI Equine Anti-Doping Rules Article 2.3 for Evading, Refusing or Failing to Submit the horse to Sample Collection.

In this case, the athlete Abdullah Aldhuwayhi (FEI ID 10203839/KSA), failed to submit the horse Shaymaa (FEI ID 106RQ41/KSA), to the doping control station for a sample collection at the CEI2* 120 - Al Ula (KSA), 03-04 March 2023.

The athlete, admitted the rule violation and accepted the consequences. In its final decision the FEI Tribunal disqualified the horse and rider combination from the event and imposed an 18-month ineligibility period on the athlete from the date of the Consent Award. He was also fined CHF 5,000.

The full Decision is available here.

FEI Tribunal issues Final Decision in human anti-doping case

FEI Tribunal issues Final Decision in human anti-doping case

The FEI Tribunal has issued its Final Decision in a human anti-doping case.  

A sample taken from the Brazilian athlete Pedro Stefani Marino (FEI ID 10017829) on 5 December 2021 during the CEI3* 160 Punta del Este (URU), returned positive for the Prohibited Substance Carboxy-THC. Carboxy-THC is a metabolite of THC (Cannabis) and is included in the Class “S8 Cannabinoids” of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Prohibited List 2021. The athlete was notified of the violation of the FEI’s Anti-Doping Rules for Human Athletes (ADRHA) on 2 February 2022.  

In its Final Decision, the FEI Tribunal decided to suspend the athlete for a period of two years, starting from the date of the Final Decision (2 October 2023). Additionally, all competitive results of the Athlete obtained at the Event and from the date of the hearing onwards (15 May 2023) were disqualified with all the relevant consequences (forfeiture of any medals, points and prizes, etc.). Any competitive results from the conclusion of the Event up until the date of the hearing remained valid. Finally, the Athlete was imposed a fine of CHF 7,500 and ordered to pay costs of CHF 5,000.

The parties can appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) within 21 days of receipt of the decision.

The full text of the FEI Tribunal’s Final Decision is available here.

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