FEI’s Letter Regarding Progressive List Delay and Revote

Excerpts from the FEI’s letter sent out to all member federations last week about postponing the ‘progressive list’ until a revote in November 2010, a move that we originally reported on Friday after hearing about it at the USEA convention.

“Dear Member National Federations of the FEI,

In the context of the dispute that has erupted within our family over the best way to achieve our shared goals of eradicating doping and protecting the welfare of horses, I write to ask for your support.

Specifically, I am asking you to give your written consent to allow the implementation of the “20 October List” with the new rules in April 2010 and place the issue of NSAID policy on the agenda for the 2010 General Assembly. I give you my word that this issue will be tabled in the form of a policy choice for the GA in 2010 and that, in the meantime, HQ will make it a priority to provide you with the necessary scientific thought and research for you to make an informed decision. I ask that you please indicate your support, or lack thereof, by replying to this email.

The General Assembly considered two options: the “20 October List” and the “Progressive List.” The Progressive List classified specified NSAIDs up to certain levels as permitted medications and removed them from the Prohibited Substances category of the 20 October List

[Note: the 20 October list is known colloquially as the ‘zero-tolerance list.’  The FEI has been accused of selecting confusing names for the lists and changing those names, and this letter is still seems a little unclear about the exact nature of each list, whether intentionally or unintentionally.]

…We all agree on the important things. Everyone involved in this debate wants to eradicate doping. Everyone involved in this debate wants to protect the welfare of horses. We all favour “zero tolerance.” The General Assembly approved an outright and unequivocal ban on substances that are intended solely to enhance performance. There will be no retreat from that. But the term “zero tolerance” is easy to use – and easy to abuse. In human sport, “zero tolerance” is actually the same policy as the Progressive List. Acceptance of the Progressive List for equestrian sport does not mean acceptance of doping.

This is not a debate driven by geography or cultural differences. It is not a split between developed and under-developed; and rich from poor; or East and West. Many of the most developed nations among our NF body have voted for the Progressive List, and feel passionately that this is the way that the sport must go. I would equally highlight that many of the smallest and most under-developed nations in our sport have vocalized clearly to me their overwhelming concern that this policy change will not allow them as National Federations to fulfill their duty to protect their equine communities. Some have also expressed fear that passage of the Progressive List presented them with the problem that they would be unable to institute the necessary educational tools fast enough to protect their equine communities from those with a lack of knowledge who would unwittingly abuse the rules…

There are good arguments on both sides of the issue, and we should listen to each other with consideration and respect. Our equine partners in sport will be the losers should we not agree to debate this in a calm and rational fashion

Let us put this “time out” to good use so that we can engage in a calm, rational debate over the best way forward and then vote on this policy issue at the 2010 GA. In the meantime (as of 1 January 2010), the FEI will apply the clean sport recommendations not related to the new regulations, which have you have already approved and which will allow for considerable progress on the FEI’s clean sport initiative.

We will probably never have unanimity, but working together, we can agree on an approach that serves the interests of equestrian sport and the athletes — both human and equine — who practice it. That, after all, is what we all desire. 

Once again, I ask for your support in approving the implementation of the “20 October List” with the new rules in April 2010 and place the issue of NSAID policy on the agenda for the 2010 General Assembly. I ask that you please indicate your support, or lack thereof, by replying to this email.

Yours respectfully,
Haya Al Hussein”

Read the full letter at Eurodressage.  Thanks to the Chronicle for the original link.

My ridiculous take: We have questioned Princess Haya over the past few weeks, but this letter is the perfect step to resolve the issues within the FEI.  Delaying the implementation of the progressive list until next November resolves concerns about the WEGs, and allowing the revote will lend legitimacy to the final decision.  All of this is assuming that the member nations actually vote to approve the delay, but I cannot possibly imagine that the FEI would offer this as an option without being sure of the final vote.  If the member federations voted against Princess Haya on this matter, the legitimacy of the FEI leadership would be crippled. Everyone at the USEA convention seemed absolutely convinced that the delay and revote would go through, including Mark Phillips, and the Chronicle reported “rumors confirmed.

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