BHA: Zero Tolerance Anabolic Steroid Policy
by Blood-Horse Staff
Date Posted: 6/26/2014 3:03:13 PM
Last Updated: 6/27/2014 8:41:14 AM

Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt

The British Horseracing Authority on June 26 announced details of what it terms an “enhanced zero-tolerance” policy on anabolic steroids, including a 14-month ban for any horses found to have been administered the drugs.

The policy is to be implemented by Jan. 1, 2015, pending the implementation of the necessary rule changes.

The BHA's action comes in the wake of high-profile cases involving trainers Mahmood Al Zarooni and Gerard Butler, who both were found guilty of administering performance-enhancing substances.

New minimum standards on steroid use were published by International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA) in October 2013, but following research and consultation the BHA has outlined its official policy.

Under the rules, a horse must not be given an anabolic steroid at any point in its life. Penalty will be a ban from training for 12 months and ineligible to start in any race in Britain for 14 months.

All British-bred horses must be registered with Weatherbys within 12 months of birth, a period which will be phased to six months in two years, and they must be available for testing at any time after registration.

Permanently imported horses must be registered with Weatherbys within three months of arrival in Britain and be accompanied by a sample that shows no evidence of anabolic steroid usage.

Horses from Ireland, France, and Germany who have spent 12 months under their similar policies will be exempt while runners from those countries will be treated as British horses and sampled as per the standard testing policy.

The BHA ruled all other foreign runners must be in Britain a minimum of 14 days in advance of their intended race for post-arrival sampling and analysis, the results of which will be received prior to the horse running.

Paul Bittar, chief executive of BHA, said: "The need for an international position that sets robust minimum standards on use of anabolic steroids in horseracing was one that was pushed by BHA and a number of other key racing jurisdictions last year and resulted in the IFHA adopted position.

"The enhanced, zero-tolerance policy announced today, which exceeds the international minimum standard, has the objective of ensuring that British racing remains at the forefront of tackling an issue that ranks amongst the biggest threats faced by any world sport.

"It is intended to ensure that the industry, racing and betting public can be reassured that all races which take place on British soil are done so on a level playing field. It is also hoped that this will be another step towards global harmonization across the sport and that the leadership role BHA has adopted on this issue can result in those nations that have not yet adopted the minimum standards following suit. Our previous policy already met the minimum standards, and today's announcement goes further, ensuring British racing retains its pre-eminent position in respect of how drug use is regulated within the sport.

 "After a challenging 16 months, as a result of the actions taken already by several nations, the sport globally is now in a much better place when it comes to the regulation of anabolic steroids."



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