After German doping allegations caused upheaval in equestrian sport following the 2008 Olympic Games and then again this summer, Lord Stevens, the former Chief of the Metropolitan Police, took on the task of chairing a commission on doping for the Fédération Equestre International.
On Sept. 2, he announced the commission’s recommendations to combat doping.
The Stevens Commission’s key recommendations include:
– Integrity Unit: An independent Integrity Unit will maintain the status of a corruption-free environment in the FEI and its sports.
– Professionalization of the Sport: A greater number of roles should be professionalized by having paid officials.
– Protocols: Urgent review of protocols for all anti-doping testing, including an assessment of conflicts of interests.
– Stable Security at Competition Venues: More sophisticated and effective stable security at FEI Championships and CSIOs.
The Stevens Commission members started their work in May this year to assess and investigate practices among members of the German equestrian team, and its officials, at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.
Commission members expanded their mission to include a wider overview of equestrian sport to dovetail with the work of the Ljungqvist Commission and provide the FEI with a complete spectrum of changes to be implemented in its fight against doping. In addition to Lord Stevens, the commission consisted of David O’Connor of the United States, (USA), Israel’s Ken Lalo, chairman of the FEI tribunal and president of the Israel Equestrian Federation, and John Roche, FEI Director of Jumping.
The FEI Clean Sport Commission, chaired by Arne Ljungqvist of Sweden, World Anti-Doping Agency Vice-President and Chairman of the IOC Medical Commission, was established in November 2008. It has brought together representatives from all areas of veterinary medicine, in addition to representatives of all the stakeholder sectors in horse sport and its governing bodies. The commission’s objective is to establish the best possible system to prevent the use of methods or substances that influence the performance of a competition horse, while ensuring horse welfare at all times. In addition, it will bring the FEI as a governing body in line with the WADA Code.
FEI President, HRH Princess Haya, greeted the recommendations with enthusiasm. “The Stevens Commission has made it absolutely clear that the FEI must turn over a new leaf in order to guarantee its community a clean and uncorrupt product. The Stevens Commission and the Ljungqvist Commission have both painted a picture that illustrates how negligent we have been in this area thus far, and our governing body is completely committed to rectifying the problems we now face, for the benefit of our athletes, our community and our public. ”
The recommendations will be put forward for approval by the national federations at the FEI General Assembly in Copenhagen, Denmark, Nov. 15-20, for implementation by Jan. 1, 2010.