Qatari sheikh’s cannabis case risks Olympic equestrian place

Qatar's Sheikh Ali Al-Thani, riding First Devision, competes in the equestrian jumping competition at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (AP/File Photo)
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Updated 09 January 2020

Qatari sheikh’s cannabis case risks Olympic equestrian place

  • Al-Thani was Qatar’s flag bearer at opening ceremony of 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics
  • FEI said cannabis is a prohibited substance under its anti-doping rules for riders

LAUSANNE: A Qatari sheikh is among two equestrian riders who failed doping tests at an Olympic qualifier, risking the national team’s place in the Tokyo Games jumping lineup.
Sheikh Ali Al-Thani and Bassem Mohammed tested positive for cannabis metabolites at an Olympic qualifying event in Morocco in October, the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) said Thursday.
Al-Thani was Qatar’s flag bearer at the opening ceremony of the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.
The sheikh and his horse First Division placed sixth in a final jump-off round for individual jumping gold. Both riders competed in team jumping at Rio.
The FEI said cannabis is a prohibited substance under its anti-doping rules for riders, though neither is provisionally suspended during their disciplinary cases.
Cannabis is classed as a substance “more likely to have been consumed by an athlete for a purpose other than the enhancement of sport performance,” the governing body said. “Positive cases involving ‘specified substances’ can be handled with a greater degree of flexibility within the structure of the FEI Regulations.”
No timetable was given by the FEI to give disciplinary rulings. Any verdict could be challenged at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.


Coronavirus forces fan ban at Italian football games

Updated 25 February 2020

Coronavirus forces fan ban at Italian football games

  • The Europa League game between Inter Milan and Ludogorets on Thursday will be affected
  • Italy reported its fifth death from the virus on Monday and it has the most confirmed cases in Europe

ROME: Upcoming matches in Italian Serie A and the Europa League will be played behind closed doors to combat the spread of coronavirus, the Italian sports minister announced on Monday evening.
“Following the demands of the sports world and knowing that the ban on sporting events open to the public remains in force in six regions of northern Italy, we have agreed to the holding of matches behind closed doors,” said Sports Minister Vincenzo Spadafora after a meeting of the Council of Ministers.
The Europa League game between Inter Milan and Ludogorets on Thursday will be affected, but the minister did not specify which Serie A matches at the weekend would be included in the ban.
There are six games in the regions he mentioned, including the clash on Sunday evening between leader Juventus and third-place Inter.
Italy reported its fifth death from the virus on Monday and it has the most confirmed cases in Europe.
Napoli’s Champions League match against Barcelona on Tuesday is not at risk.
The alternative to banning fans is to postpone games and Gabriele Gravina, the president of the Italian Football League made clear earlier in the day that he was opposed to thats.
“We have made an official request to Health Minister Roberto Speranza to have this game played behind closed doors,” Gravina told the press. “We expect a quick response, but we have been told that the outcome will be positive.”