Today the 29 of September, due to the considerable media attention, there was a press conference, organised by the Swiss jumping rider Steve Guerdat and the Swiss Equestrian Federation FSSE, Bern/Zurich.

Swiss jumping riders Guerdat and Bichsel completely vindicated and exonerated of suspicion of doping - the FEI recognises food contamination as the cause of the positive test.

According to the legal agreements with the International Equestrian Federation FEI published today, the Swiss jumping riders Steve Guerdat and Alessandra Bichsel have been acquitted of wrongful or negligent behaviour concerning anti-doping proceedings initiated against them.

Based on conclusive and detailed evidence given by Steve Guerdat, the FEI has recognised, as suspected from the start, food contamination due to poppy seeds as being the cause for the positive testings in the three horses in question.

The FEI also confirmed within the agreements, which have been approved independently by the FEI Tribunal, that the riders bear no fault or negligence and have also established how the substances entered the horses’ systems.

Therefore the cases are now closed.

Steve Guerdat and his entire team, just like Alessandra Bichsel and the Swiss Equestrian Federation FSSE, react with relief at this decision, but also mention the potential for improving guidelines and procedures. “We are very happy that the decision of the FEI Tribunal confirms that all positive samples taken from the three horses in question are clearly due to food contamination. Thus our two athletes Steve Guerdat and Alessandra Bichsel, are not at fault and did not make any mistakes, since they did not “dope” their horses” said Charles Trolliet, President of the Swiss Equestrian Federation. “For the world of equestrian sports, the FEI and the national federations, as well as for the animal feed sector, we now have to draw the right lessons from this unpleasant story and take appropriate measures.

Steve Guerdat said: ”I am delighted to have been completely exonerated and vindicated by both the FEI and the FEI Tribunal of any suspicion of doping. And I am happy and satisfied that the evidence confirmed absolutely that the circumstances of the food contamination were exceptional and that we, the riders, acted at all times in a highly professional and diligent manner and not at fault or negligent at all. For me, the well being of my horses is the absolute priority in my daily work as horse owner and jumping rider. The judges’ decision is extremely important to me; it means that my horses and I can finally re-focus all of our energy on purely sporting aspects.

“As jumping riders we have diligent duties to perform in the fight against doping, for the wellbeing of animals, in our own interest and that of equestrian sport. I fully agree with the FEI’s position in the fight against doping and have always been in its favour as a sportsman and horse owner. However, it appears that all those responsible should consider ways in optimising procedures and currently valid guidelines so that in the future, a non-proven suspicion of error on behalf of the rider, such as in my case, would be thoroughly treated before unjustified accusations – with grave consequences for the reputation of the person - are made public.”


Program Greeting Statements and comments on the decision taken by the FEI Tribunal:

- Steve Guerdat, Swiss jumping rider, Olympic champion and winner of the World cup

- Dr. Charles Trolliet, President of the Swiss Equestrian Federation FSSE

- Prof. Dr. méd. vét. Anton Fürst, President of the veterinary commission of the FSSE Question-and-answer session (FEI represented by Mikael Rentsch, FEI Legal Director).

The press release started with Steve Guerdat's announcement.

He said he wanted to have all the document in hand before speaking and above all, to have the case closed and solved.

The press conference was organized because a lot people believe and trust Steve and he was at the conference to prove their support was right.

The federation called Steve the 20 of July and he knew that from that moment his life would not be the same again. Something really hurt was happening and Steve decided not to give up and to fight for all people who believe in him. He tried with his team to find where the contamination come from. They change the food and they do everything to prove that the contamination came from the food.

Even if they had all the proof, in his horses there still were the contaminated substances and so they had to stay banned, so Steve could not compete at the Championship of Europe that was his goal for this year.

Steve was disqualified from "la Baule" competition where he won, and this was hard for him because he deserved a lot that win.

But the most important thing is that it has been recognized there were no negligence no fault by Steve part.

There was found an agreement accepted by the tribunal and this mean the FEI did a big step forward in agreed to do some modification of the regulation so in the future it will be possible to avoid to destroy a career of innocent riders.

Then before questions of journalists would start, Mr Guerdat, visibly touched, warmly thanked institutions, owners, friends, fans and family, who supported him and helped him, and he said this help makes a lot for him.
image: F.Petroni