British Horseracing Authority Looks Ahead to IFHA Conference and Debate on Steroids

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The Chief Executive of the British Horseracing Authority (BHA), Paul Bittar, today outlined his hopes ahead of the sessions at the forthcoming International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA) Conference in Paris when the subject of the use of anabolic steroids in racing will be considered. He expressed support for the introduction of a minimum standard across racing nations and British Racing’s commitment to exceeding that minimum standard wherever possible.

In May the BHA wrote to the IFHA seeking their support for the promotion of international harmonisation amongst all racing nations regarding anabolic steroids. The existence of inconsistencies among racing authorities had been highlighted following the BHA’s finding of prohibited substances in horses trained by Mahmood Al Zarooni and the subsequent eight-year ban issued to the trainer.

Paul Bittar, Chief Executive of the BHA, said:

“The BHA strongly believes that there is a need to establish a minimum international standard relating to the use of anabolic steroids in horseracing and we welcome the opportunity for this to be discussed in detail amongst major racing nations.

“With horseracing subject to increasing levels of international competition, it is in the interests of the sport globally to develop a position which provides a level playing field for all participants.

“Announcements regarding changes by the authorities in Dubai and, more recently, Australia and New Zealand are welcome and have added momentum to the debate.

“The events of this year, together with the inconsistencies that exist across racing nations, have made it apparent that the control and regulation of the use of anabolic steroids in racing is a complex issue. Our initial objective is to support the IFHA in producing a minimum standard all racing authorities could sign up to.

“However, subsequent to the Conference the BHA intends to continue work on establishing a revised position that is relevant for British Racing and comprised of effective and enforceable measures.

“It is anticipated that this position will exceed the minimum standard in several areas. Any amendments to our Rules will provide for the implementation and enforcement of the minimum standard. We anticipate this process, including all necessary consultation, will be completed early in 2014.”

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