Last updated: 23 May, 2013

UAE to ban anabolic steriod use in horse sports

Godolphin’s founder, Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, issued a decree Thursday banning anabolic steroids in all horse-related sports in the United Arab Emirates.

Sheikh Mohammed’s racing empire was rocked to the roots in April when it emerged that 11 horses at Godolphin trainer Mahmood Al Zarooni’s classic-winning yard had tested positive for anabolic steroids.

“I have, in light of the unfortunate recent event, directed that a decree be issued making, with immediate effect, the import, sale, purchase or use of anabolic steroids in horse sports a criminal offence under the UAE penal laws,” said Sheikh Mohammed, who is also the country’s vice-president, in a statement Thursday.

“I have always believed in the integrity of horse racing and all other horse sports” he said.

Anabolic steroids, banned in Britain, were allowed out of competition in countries including Australia, Dubai and the United States.

“Regrettably, one of my stables in Europe has recently fallen below the standards that I expect and will tolerate,” Sheikh Mohammed said.

“As soon as the internal investigations are complete and the requisite preemptory rules are put in place, Godolphin will go from strength to strength and lead, once again.”

Zarooni, an Emirati, was found to have given anabolic steroids to the horses – which have been barred from racing for six months – at his stables at British racing headquarters in Newmarket, eastern England, at a British Horseracing Authority BHA hearing last month.

He has lodged an appeal to reduce the length of his eight-year suspension for doping offences, BHA announced on May 7.