BHA Delay New Policy On Anabolic Steroids

British racing authorities have delayed the introduction of a new zero-tolerance policy over the use of anabolic steroids.

The British Horseracing Authority officials cited the requirement to gain clarity and consensus around some policy elements. It was remarked full implementation of the new policy on anabolic steroids is now set for March 2015. BHA said it wanted more time to work with trainers, owners, and stakeholders in particular for clarifying specific elements of the new rules and securing consensus from all affected parties.

These elements include the definition of a “responsible person” – the individual with the responsibility to ensure that a horse is not administered with any anabolic steroid at any given time. A trainer is responsible for a horse in his stable while the responsibility switches to the owner in all other cases. However, there is a grey area as horses are transferred between the two.

Jamie Stier, Director of Raceday Operation and Regulation for the BHA, said this is a complex issue. Jamie added while we are disappointed not to be in a position to launch on January 1, he has no doubt we are doing the right thing in not trying to rush its introduction. Stier added we appreciate the patience and cooperation of the parties concerned on this matter and we will work with them to find consensus prior to implementation. He added that extending our regulatory powers beyond that of horses in the care or control of licensed personnel is critical to the success of the policy and it is also critical that there is no scope for any subsequent misunderstandings about who is responsible for a horse at any point before or during its racing career.

The outstanding issues are being resolved in consultation with the Racehorse Owners Association, the National Trainers Federation, and the Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association.

First announced in June 2014, the new policy aims to tackle an issue the BHA believes ranks among the biggest threats faced by any global sport. According to the policy, a horse must never be administered anabolic steroids at any point of time, from birth to retirement.

Rupert Arnold, NTF Chief Executive, said the National Trainers Federation fully supports the BHA’s general policy on anabolic steroids and we are keen for its implementation to run smoothly. Arnold added unfortunately some practical issues remain unresolved so we welcome the BHA’s decision to delay the introduction until these are ironed out and added that we are committed to working with all the parties involved to ensure the rules and procedures achieve the agreed objectives.

Richard Wayman, ROA Chief Executive, said the Racehorse Owners Association unequivocally supports a zero tolerance approach to anabolic steroids but we recognize application of the new policy is not without its challenges including, for example, establishing who is responsible for a horse when it is not stabled with its trainer or owner. Wayman also remarked that delaying implementation for a short period of time to allow such issues to be fully worked through is eminently sensible as the priority must be to ensure the new Rules operate as intended and also that they are fully communicated to those directly involved before they become effective.

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