FEI president Ingmar De Vos says that the decision by the IOC to postpone the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games for a year “was absolutely right in the current terrible global pandemic”.
Earlier this week the International Olympic Committee and the Japanese Government agreed on new dates for the Games, which will run from July 23 to August 8, and for the Paralympic Games from August 24 until September 5, 2021.
De Vos said the decision was taken in full consultation with all the International Federations, including the FEI, “and we all had the opportunity to voice our opinions”.
“Now, once the Covid-19 crisis is over, our athletes across both Games can get their training back on track with confidence, knowing exactly when they and their horse need to be at their peak.”
De Vos said the FEI was looking at ways of minimising the impact of the pandemic across its competition calendar. He said the discipline-specific task forces evaluating the impact of Covid-19 on the 2020 calendar has been expanded to cover 2021.
“We need to explore possible alternatives for a number of major FEI Events, notably the European Championships in Jumping, Dressage and Para Dressage, in Budapest, and the European Eventing Championships in Haras du Pin, France. This process will be started immediately.”
The five-discipline European Championships in Budapest (HUN), which also include driving and vaulting, is planned for August 23-30, 2021, and the Eventing Championships in Haras du Pin (FRA) from August 11-15.
“We need to also look at deadlines for obtaining minimum eligibility requirements and extending the deadline for registration of ownership for Olympic horses and will announce those as soon as possible, but we have had confirmation from both the IOC and IPC that National Olympic and Paralympic Committees which have been allocated Olympic or Paralympic quota places will retain them despite the postponement of the Games to next year.”
The FEI’s Jumping Task Force held its first meeting via teleconference on April 2, discussing key topics such as event rescheduling, the rules relating to date-change applications, initiatives to help organisers, and the impact of the change in Olympic Games dates.
The conclusions and resolutions from the Jumping Calendar Task Force will now go to the FEI Board for consideration at a specially convened Board teleconference next week. The principles agreed by the Board will be shared with the other seven task forces that will evaluate the impact of the virus on the FEI Calendar for Dressage, Para Dressage, Eventing, Driving, Endurance, Vaulting and Reining.
FEI Sports Forum going online
In light of the Covid-19 pandemic, the FEI has completely stripped back the FEI Sports Forum 2020 in order to address the time-sensitive topics and delay the themes which can be discussed later.
The two sessions concerning FEI Anti-Doping Rules for human athletes and equine athletes will be the only sessions to be covered (not as webinars) as part of the FEI Sports Forum 2020. The FEI will be publishing all the supporting documents and relevant deadlines for feedback by the mid/late April. All the relevant materials for the FEI Anti-Doping Rules sessions will be published, and the community’s feedback alongside the full consultation process will be maintained.
Among the sessions on hold, Tokyo 2020 was a key theme but given the full 12-month delay of the Games, the FEI will be holding this session at the Sports Forum 2021.
The FEI has created a dedicated hub for its news and FAQs regarding the Covid-19 pandemic.