Thursday, Jun. 6, 2024

Pessoa Will Serve Suspension For Olympic Substance Infraction

The Fédération Equestre Internationale announced its final decision today, Oct. 3, in the prohibited substance case involving Brazilian rider Rodrigo Pessoa’s Olympic mount, Rufus.

Pessoa, who began a suspension on Aug. 29 immediately after the Games, will serve a total of 4½ months for the FEI “Medication Class A”  infraction. He will be allowed to return to competition on Jan. 10, 2009, and will also be fined CHF 2,000 (about $1,774). The horse and the rider, who placed fifth individually at the Olympic Games, are also disqualified from the competition.

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The Fédération Equestre Internationale announced its final decision today, Oct. 3, in the prohibited substance case involving Brazilian rider Rodrigo Pessoa’s Olympic mount, Rufus.

Pessoa, who began a suspension on Aug. 29 immediately after the Games, will serve a total of 4½ months for the FEI “Medication Class A”  infraction. He will be allowed to return to competition on Jan. 10, 2009, and will also be fined CHF 2,000 (about $1,774). The horse and the rider, who placed fifth individually at the Olympic Games, are also disqualified from the competition.

Although the banned substance found in Rufus’ system—Nonivamide—can be used as both a pain-relieving substance or a hypersensitisation agent, the FEI determined it did not fall under the “Doping” category. An FEI press release noted that Nonivamide is a newly-detectable substance which is often used by riders for legitimate therapeutic reasons.

The FEI tribunal reached its decision after taking several factors into account, including Pessoa’s “impeccable record and reputation” and his assistance and cooperation in the speedy resolution of the issue.

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However, the tribunal’s statement also noted, “it is not necessary that intent, fault, negligence or knowing use on the person responsible’s part be demonstrated in order to establish an anti-doping rule or medication control violation.”

The statement went on to acknowledge that Pessoa and the Brazilian team were unable to establish the source of the substance, and that the rider’s “suggestions regarding the presence of the substance reveal poor stable management for this level of event.”

Pessoa has 30 days to appeal this decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

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