Ocala Eventing Suspensions Announced

May 28, 2018 - 9:34 AM

The Fédération Equestre Internationale Tribunal has today, May 28, ratified agreements in three human anti-doping cases between the athletes and the FEI, global governing body for equestrian sport.

The three U.S. athletes, who were tested at the Ocala Jockey Club International in Florida last November, were provisionally suspended from Dec. 21, 2017, the date of notification of their adverse analytical findings under the FEI Anti-Doping Rules for Human Athletes.

Samples taken from the athletes—Alyssa Phillips, Hannah Sue Burnett and Jennie Brannigan—all returned positive for Amfetamine. In addition, Alyssa Phillips’ sample contained Canrenone, and the sample taken from Jennie Brannigan also included Methylphenidate and Ritalinic Acid.

Under the terms of the settlements, a one-year period of ineligibility will be imposed on the athletes from the date of sample collection, Nov. 18, 2017. The athletes will each pay a fine of 1,500 Swiss Francs, and their results from the competition will be disqualified. Each of the parties will bear their own legal costs.

Additionally, the athletes are required to support the FEI in its anti-doping campaign and to actively engage in athlete education, including providing testimonials for FEI education material. And the athletes must complete an anti-doping education course within one year of the FEI Tribunal’s final decision.

“All three athletes were able to prove no significant fault or negligence and the circumstances of the cases show that none of them had the intention to dope,” said FEI Legal Director Mikael Rentsch. “In light of this, and the fact that the athletes have subsequently been granted Therapeutic Use Exemptions for these medications, the parties agreed that the period of ineligibility should be reduced to 12 months, and the FEI Tribunal has approved that.”

In accordance with the WADA Code, the FEI has notified WADA and the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency of the FEI Tribunal decisions. You can see the full decision here. 

These athletes are suspended from participating in any FEI- and USEF-sanctioned activities in an official capacity, but can spectate, in accordance with FEI General Regulations Article 169.5.1.

“It is with the upmost passion and commitment that I will be returning to the competitive world of eventing,” Burnett said in a statement. “I have taken full responsibility for my actions and am grateful for the opportunity to return to the sport I so deeply love.

“Abiding by the rules that have been placed to ensure fair competition within the sport of eventing is important to me. While I am taking a doctor prescribed medication, I acknowledge and regret that I began taking the medication before submitting a Therapeutic Use Exemption. I have since gone through the FEI process and been granted a TUE going forward.

“I am humbled by the support and forgiveness of those closest to me despite my mistakes,” Burnett finished.  “To everyone who fought for me and believed in me when I couldn’t do so for myself—from the bottom of my heart, thank you. I know it will take time to rebuild the trust of many of my fans and supporters, but I am committed to doing exactly that.”

“I’m incredibly happy to know that I will be able to come back to compete again this November, and while this situation has been tough on my sponsors, students, owners, and support team I am truly thankful that I have learned how to love the sport even from the sidelines,” Brannigan said in a statement. “I am grateful to everyone who has stood by me and I am extremely sorry to have let our sport, country, and my supporters down. That being said, I am appreciative to the FEI for recognizing I wasn’t taking the medication to try to improve my performance and that indeed I will be allowed to compete on this medication going forward. I know I have learned a lot from this experience, and I hope it has helped others be more educated on anti-doping as well.”

Tags: Eventing, FEI, USEF
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