x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Fine for doping in horse racing to double to Dh200,000, FNC members decide

Federal National Council members debate draft laws including illegal substances in horse racing, military medal rewards and a name change for the National Transport Authority.

FNC member Ahmed Al Shamsi, from Ajman, addresses the council session. Silvia Razgova/The National
FNC member Ahmed Al Shamsi, from Ajman, addresses the council session. Silvia Razgova/The National

ABU DHABI // The maximum fine for doping a racehorse has been doubled to Dh200,000 and a law covering athletes who take performance-enhancing drugs is on its way.

At its session on Wednesday, the FNC also raised rewards for those receiving military medals by Dh10,000 each, and advised that foreign civilians and military forces who did not work for the UAE Armed Forces should be granted rewards as well.

The members raised the penalty for horse doping from a maximum of Dh100,000 to Dh200,000, while the minimum remained at Dh20,000.

The draft law states the fine doubles if the offence is repeated within three years, while the fine cap for further offences is Dh500,000.

Authorities also have the right where appropriate to ban a stables from participating in races for no more than three years, close down the offending stables for no more than three years, and cancel its licence.

FNC members and the Minister of Environment and Water, Dr Rashid bin Fahad, discussed including the jockey in the draft law.

The committee that revised the law added “and the horse rider” to the article that prohibits “injecting or trying to inject the horse with a prohibited substance using any possible method”. Dr bin Fahad objected, saying the law only concerned illegal substances given to horses, not taken by humans, and that a law that dealt with drug abuse by athletes was on its way.

Members argued that substance abuse by the jockey would affect the result of the race, and therefore it should be included.

“Right now there is no law that covers riders. We researched and we know this for a fact,” said Ahmed Al Shamsi (Ajman).

Mr Al Shamsi said that when the new law concerning athletes was produced, the reference to jockeys could be removed from this law.

But the minister replied: “We are discussing horse dope. Athletes don’t use animal dope. This law is about the horse, not the athlete.”

Dr bin Fahad also objected to adding “methods” to the definition of prohibited substances.

The definition says: “It includes medicines and methods or any other substances that are prohibited and specified in the law’s list of amendment.”

The committee then defined methods as: using electrical, mechanical, electronic or other methods that affect the result of the race.

Dr bin Fahad argued that the law was to discuss substances and not other methods. But a vote resulted in “methods” being kept.

A draft law was also passed by the council to change the name of the National Transport Authority to Land and Maritime Transport, to more accurately portray the authority’s purpose.

“The main reasons behind the draft law is due to a common mix-up between the National Transport Authority and Emirates Transport,” according to the FNC committee who revised the draft law presented by the Government.

And the council raised the rewards for military medals and awards.

For the first category, which covers the most high-ranking officers and officials, the rewards were raised to Dh40,000 from Dh30,000.

In the second category, including colonels, the rewards was raised to Dh30,000 from Dh20,000.

The other three categories were also raised by Dh10,000.

hdajani@thenational.ae