DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — The ruler of Dubai, stung by a doping scandal involving his horses in Britain, is making the use of steroids on race horses a criminal offense across the United Arab Emirates.
The directive today by Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, which is expected to take immediate effect, would give the UAE some of the toughest anti-doping rules among high-profile racing centers. Each March, Dubai hosts the world's richest horse race, and Sheik Mohammed's Godolphin stables represent a global powerhouse in the sport.
Sheik Mohammed said he has "directed that a decree be issued making, with immediate effect, the import, sale, purchase or use of anabolic steroids in horse sports a criminal offence under the UAE penal laws." No further details were given on the possible jail time or fines.
Last month, former Godolphin trainer Mahmood al-Zarooni was banned for eight years for doping race horses at Sheik Mohammed's stables in Newmarket.
"Regrettably, one of my stables in Europe has recently fallen below the standards that I expect and will tolerate," said the Dubai ruler, who also holds the position of UAE's vice president.
On Monday, Godolphin's problems deepened when British racing authorities announced that seven more horses have tested positive for steroids. The horses include Encke, the winner last year of the world's oldest classic, St. Leger.
Al-Zarooni has appealed the severity of his initial suspension by the British Horseracing Authority.