The Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) Bureau has suspended the national federation of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for an indeterminate period. The suspension follows an FEI investigation into major horse welfare issues and noncompliance with FEI rules and regulations in endurance.

The bureau, chaired by FEI President Ingmar De Vos, was unanimous in its decision to suspend the UAE national federation.

Under the terms of the immediate suspension the UAE national federation may not attend or be represented at any session or meeting of any body of the FEI, may not organize any international events, and its members cannot participate in any international events. However, the bureau has ruled that UAE athletes from disciplines other than endurance may compete under the FEI flag in international competitions organized outside the UAE.

The bureau has clearly outlined to the UAE federation that any potential reinstatement to FEI membership is dependent on the UAE federation signing an agreement with the FEI under which the federation pledges to take such action as the bureau deems necessary to assure the FEI and all stakeholders that the UAE federation is protecting the welfare of the horse and complying fully with the FEI rules and regulations.

"The decision to suspend a national federation is not something that is taken lightly and we only should do this if no other remedy can be found,” De Vos said. “Sadly this was the only option left, but we have to take our responsibility and must never be afraid of tackling major issues head-on. Where horse welfare is concerned the FEI has to show leadership and solve