FEI Anti-Doping and Medication Commission Chair Arne Ljungqvist, FEI First Vice President Sven Holmberg and FEI Secretary General Alexander McLin met yesterday, 16 December, to plot the way forward for the Commission recently established by the FEI General Assembly.

The subject matter to be addressed by the Commission’s members is vast and falls into the broad categories of policy, legislation, education, communication, prevention, evidence, prosecution, adjudication, and financing.

The Commission’s objective is to recommend a practical course of action aimed at establishing the best possible system to prevent the use of methods or substances that influence the performance of a competition horse, while ensuring horse welfare at all times. The recommendations should be able to be universally recognized and supported by all the stakeholders of equestrian sport, namely the athletes and their entourage, the FEI’s member National Federations, the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), and the media as the best effort that can be made by equestrian sport’s governing body to tackle the issue. The Commission, which includes athletes, will examine the question of the role and responsibility of riders in all relevant subject areas. Dr. Ljungqvist is Chair of the IOC Medical Commission and Vice President of WADA.

A number of focus groups formed by Commission members, selected experts and staff will be tasked with addressing key questions in the following areas: laboratory science, prohibited substances, rules and legal procedure, and communication and education.

The Commission aims to produce its initial findings in a report to the FEI Bureau on 31 March, 2009. Focus groups will meet in January with a full Commission meeting scheduled on 6 March. The Commission welcomes contributions from any interested parties in any of the areas listed above, which shall be given due consideration. Any such contributions should be emailed to cleansport@fei.org.

The members of the focus groups will be announced in due course. They will start working immediately in January and February with the aim to report to the Commission on 6 March 2009. Comments on the work in progress will only be made through FEI Headquarters.