The FEI Tribunal today communicated two decisions in the cases brought before it last week in which the FEI had sought provisional suspensions of the rider Marco Kutscher, former team veterinarian Björn Nolting, and FEI Bureau member Hanfried Haring. In the matters involving Mr Kutscher and Dr Haring, the Tribunal denied the request for provisional suspensions on legal grounds, reasoning that unlike the applicable provisions under the anti-doping rules, the rules in horse abuse cases did not allow for suspension prior to a final decision on the merits of the case.
The measures sought by the FEI were to be of a limited and temporary nature until the results of the Ethics Panel investigating the underlying matters are known.
The FEI’s actions resulted from widespread reports that the horse Cornet Obolensky had been treated at the Olympics in Hong Kong between competition rounds, that this may have resulted in pain or discomfort to the horse when he fell against a stable wall, that the horse subsequently competed and that neither the treatment nor the welfare issue were reported at the time as provided by the rules. The FEI case involving Björn Nolting is still open, given that he was unable to be heard at last week’s Tribunal hearing.
Regarding the matter of Dr Haring, HRH Princess Haya, FEI President, commented: “The Tribunal was not asked to judge the guilt or innocence of Hanfried Haring but instead it was asked to endorse the protests of the FEI Bureau in provisionally suspending him as a Bureau Member and FEI judge until it was established that he had no involvement in the ongoing case. This is common practice in organisations to ensure that a person who is in a position of authority is cleared first of any involvement in the specific issue, given the available evidence. Their decision underlines the independence of the Tribunal, the sole body elected by the General Assembly to decide on such matters. Hanfried Haring remains a Member of the Bureau and his fellow Bureau Members will accord him the respect that he deserves.”