The FEI has made drastic changes to its Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup 2020 rules in a bid to maintain the series Final at Barcelona in October this year, following the major disruption to the calendar cause by Covid-19.
Under changes proposed by the FEI Jumping Committee and approved by the FEI Board during its teleconference this week, 22 nations will be invited to compete at the Longines Final, staged at the prestigious Barcelona Polo Club. The 22 teams would be 10 from Europe, three from North America, two from South America, two from the Middle East, two from Asia/Australasia, one apiece from Africa and Eurasia, plus the host nation Spain.
The event held in February this year in Wellington (USA) will no longer be considered as a qualifier, and while events in North America and Europe that are still scheduled to take place over the next few months can be hosted as a Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup, no qualifying points will be awarded for the Final.
The three teams from North America and the 10 teams from Europe Division 1 will qualify directly for the Final, while the UAE and Syria, which claimed the two top spots at the Middle East qualifier in Abu Dhabi earlier this year, will retain their places for the Final.
The qualification system for the other divisions will be based on the Longines Rankings, using the combined points of each National Federations’ four best Athletes on the Longines Ranking published one month prior to the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup Final.
With Spain as the host nation of the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ Final, this brings the maximum number of teams competing to 22.
FEI President Ingmar De Vos said making the decision now on the Nations Cup final “was the only way forward”.
“The global pandemic has meant that sadly we have had a number of cancellations in the series, and even though we still don’t know what events will take place later in the season, we needed to provide clarity to all our stakeholders as soon as possible.
“There is no certainty that teams would be able to travel to any of the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup events that are able to go ahead, and without a fair qualification system and the impossibility of being able to offer a level playing field where all teams have the same possibility to train and participate at events, this was a decision that had to be made,” De Vos said.
“Of course all this is dependent on what happens with the pandemic, and we truly hope that there will soon be respite from all the terrible suffering around the globe, but we need to be optimistic and having the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup Final in Barcelona in October with up to 22 countries competing for our sport’s most prestigious team title is a goal we are hoping can be realised.”
Jumping, dressage task forces report back to FEI Board
The FEI has heard from its task forces from dressage and jumping evaluating the impact of the Covid-19 outbreak on the FEI Calendar and the equestrian community.
The FEI Board has confirmed several other amendments to jumping rule, relating to date clashes and modifications. Several other resolutions are under further discussion by the Jumping Calendar Task Force, which met via video conference on April 7. The FEI Board has also tasked the Executive Board with looking at the financial consequences of Covid-19 and the economic impact of potentially granting some waivers on fees for event organisers.
The second meeting of the jumping task force takes place on April 22.
The principles agreed after this meeting were shared with the other seven Task Forces, which consist of the core group plus the Chair of the relevant Technical Committee, a representative of the athletes and the FEI Sports Director of the specific discipline.
The Dressage Calendar Task Force held its first video conference on April 16. It looked at initiatives to help organisers, the rescheduling of events, and championships, nations cup and world cup events in 2020 and 2021, and giving priority to Olympic qualifying classes.
Its proposals have been submitted to the FEI Board for consideration. The second dressage task force meeting is on April 28.
On April 18, a joint task force meeting for Driving, Vaulting and Reining, specifically to discuss FEI European Championships for Youth and Seniors in 2020 and 2021, is being held. Following this, separate meetings will be held with each discipline Task Force to review potential date clash issues.
Eventing is to meet on April 24, Endurance on April 29, and Para Dressage on April 30.