The President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan has issued Federal Law No. 7 of 2015 to combat the trade or use of banned substances in horse racing and equestrian sports events in the UAE. The Cabinet has also issued the Implementing Regulations of the new law.
The law aims to protect legitimate competition in the sport and eliminate fraud while promoting the principle of sportsmanship. It will also encourage research on combatting banned materials in horse racing and equestrian events, help develop the detection process in order to maximise the effectiveness of preventive strategies and educate owners and professionals about the seriousness of the use of prohibited substances.
The new law is applicable in equestrian sports that include any local, regional and international contests or competition dedicated to horses, which include, without limitation, Endurance, Flat, training of horses, polo and events related to beauty.
The Implementing Regulations of the new law governs matters related to prohibited substances in horse racing and equestrian sports, stating the following provisions:
Trading of banned substances and materials:
The law and its implementing regulations state that trading of banned substances is banned unless a licence is obtained to do so in accordance with the legislation in force, and it will be allowed only for the purpose of treatment of horses and not allowed in the field of horse racing and equestrian sports due to its impact on the results of the competitions. The Ministry of Environment and Water will grant approvals for the use of restricted substances for therapeutic purposes and research only after the requesting party meets the following conditions:
1- The therapeutic or research entity must be registered and licensed in the UAE.
2- Prior permission of Horse Racing Authority must be obtained for the use of restricted substances.
3- Commitment is shown to conditions and procedures specified by the horse racing body in this regard.
4- Commitment is shown to the international conditions and procedures in this regard.
The law prohibits any of the following acts: giving or injecting or trying to give or inject any prohibited substance to horses in any way or manner, using of banned substances without obtaining a licence from the ministry, as well as refusing to test the horses or manipulating any of the control procedures of using banned substances, or helping the owner or arranging or encouraging or covering up any process related to giving banned materials to horses. In addition, the law prohibits any other act related to the distribution or use of prohibited substances in horse racing and equestrian sports in the UAE.
Without prejudice to any other sanctions available under any other law, anyone who violates any provision of this law will be fined not less than Dh 20,000 (twenty thousand dirhams) and not more than Dh200,000 (two hundred thousand dirhams). The fine will be doubled in the event of repeat violation within three years from the date of committing the previous offence, to not more than Dh500,000 (five hundred thousand dirhams), in addition to the stipulated fines. The law also takes a number of administrative decisions against the offender which include the denial of participation in horse racing and equestrian sport for not more than three years, or stopping the offender from working in horse racing and equestrian sports events for not more than three years, the closure of the offending establishment for not more than three years, the cancellation of the offending establishment’s licence, and in case of repeat violation, the offender will be removed from the records of horse racing and equestrian sport events.
The law defines the duties of establishments working in the field of customised products for horses and other banned substances in horse racing and equestrian sport area.
Implementing Regulations of the Law:
The Cabinet also issued the Implementing Regulations of the federal law on combatting banned substances in horse racing and equestrian sport events, which consist of 11 articles about detailed procedures for law enforcement provisions, including the recognition of Horse Racing Authority as an authority specialised in the application of the provisions of this law. The Regulations also mention the responsibilities, and the conditions for granting approvals for the use of restricted substances for therapeutic purposes and research, and trading of banned substances and restricted substances, and identifies prohibited acts and duties of establishments in the area of products, facilities, food supplements, materials and drugs, and obligations of owners and professionals. According to the Regulations, the administrative procedures that the authority may take against violators of the law are as following:
A. Denial of participation in horse racing and equestrian sports events for a period not exceeding three years.
B. Stopping the offender from working in horse racing and equestrian sports events for not more than three years.
C. Closing the facility in violation of a period not exceeding 3 years.
D. Cancellation of the offending establishment’s licence.
E. Removing the offender from records of horse racing and equestrian sports events in the case of repeat violation.
The issuance of this law completes the legislative system for horse racing and equestrian sports events in accordance with international standards applicable in this field. It also confirms the success of the UAE in organising these races at the regional and global level.