April 07, 2016

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) The International Equestrian Federation has stripped the United Arab Emirates of hosting the endurance world championships in December over horse welfare concerns.

The FEI Bureau's decision on Thursday follows more than a year of scrutiny on the UAE after horse deaths, doping, and faked endurance races.

The emirates federation ''is not currently in a position to guarantee that horse welfare would be fully protected at an FEI world endurance championship,'' the world governing body said in a statement.

The event was scheduled in Dubai, which is ruled by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the husband of former FEI president Princess Haya of Jordan.

Sheikh Mohammed was the individual world champion and a member of the title-winning UAE team at the 2012 endurance worlds held in England.

Long-distance endurance racing is popular in the Middle East, especially among royal families, and has been discussed as a potential Olympic discipline.

The FEI acknowledged the ''hard work and progress'' in the UAE since the federation was reinstated last July after a suspension of several months.

''At the same time, there was also unanimous agreement among the Bureau members that rule breaches are absolutely unacceptable,'' the FEI said, adding that it would not approve any event organized by the Dubai International Equestrian Centre.

Last month, the FEI banned a veterinarian and administrator employed by the UAE federation for their part in submitting inaccurate race results.

The FEI said it set a May 18 deadline for new bidders to host the 2016 worlds in September or October.

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