The FEI Tribunal has issued Final Decisions in two cases involving the prohibited substance Demecolcine after hearing that the presence of this substance can be the result of contamination due to the ingestion of the flower Colchicum Autumnale, commonly known as autumn crocus.
These cases involve the horses Inception 2 (FEI ID 105CF31) ridden by German athlete Felix Etzel (FEI ID 10031843) at the CCI1* in Wiener Neustadt, Milak (AUT) and Finest Quality V&K (FEI ID 105DG03) ridden by Lebanese athlete Emile Karim Fares (FEI ID 10005907) at the CSI3* in Eindhoven (NED). Samples were taken from both horses in May 2017.
Demecolcine, which was previously a Banned Substance* on the FEI Equine Prohibited Substances List, was reclassified as a Specified Substances** on 1 January 2018. There is no known use for Demecolcine in veterinary medicine and the alkaloids of the autumn crocus are all highly toxic.
The athletes were able to prove to the FEI Tribunal that the substance had entered the horses’ systems through ingesting hay that had been contaminated by autumn crocus.
The athletes also established that they bore no fault or negligence for the rule violation and, as a result, the Tribunal ruled that no further sanctions should be imposed, other than the automatic disqualification of the horse and athlete from the competitions.
The athletes have 21 days to appeal these decisions to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) from the date of notification, 20 July 2018.
FEI Prohibited Substances
The FEI’s Prohibited Substances List is divided into two sections – Controlled Medication and *Banned Substances. Controlled Medication substances are those that are regularly used to treat horses, but which must have been cleared from the horse’s system by the time of competition.
Banned (doping) Substances should never be found in the body of the horse. In the case of an adverse analytical finding for a Banned Substance, the Person Responsible (PR) is automatically provisionally suspended from the date of notification. The horse is suspended for two months.
The FEI introduced the concept of Specified Substances in 2016. Specified Substances should not in any way be considered less important or less dangerous than other Prohibited Substances. Rather, they are simply substances which are more likely to have been ingested by horses for a purpose other than the enhancement of sport performance, for example, through a contaminated food substance. In the case of a positive for a Specified Substance, provisional suspension is not automatic.
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