New Covid-19 policy as FEI prepares for horse sport’s return

Big crowds enjoyed the action at the 2019 Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup Final in Barcelona.
Action from the 2019 Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup Final in Barcelona. © FEI/Lukasz Kowalski

A new return to play policy has been published by the FEI, to help organisers and national federations with the safe resumption of international equestrian events in line with national and local restrictions.

The FEI’s Policy for Enhanced Competition Safety during the Covid-19 pandemic will apply to all FEI Events held from July 1, 2020 and has been put in place to limit the risk of transmission and further spread of Covid-19 until an effective treatment and/or vaccine as determined by the World Health Organization (WHO) is available.

Developed by FEI Medical Committee Chair Dr Mark Hart together with FEI Headquarters, the policy requires national federations and organisers to carry out a risk assessment to evaluate whether it is safe to hold events. The policy includes general best practice recommendations for organisers and is to be implemented in conjunction with any requirements imposed by the domestic authorities. Discipline-specific guidance will be issued shortly by the FEI.

The policy is intended to be used in conjunction with the following WHO documents: Considerations for sports federations/sports event organizers when planning mass gatherings in the context of Covid-19; Mass Gathering Sports Addendum Risk Assessment; and the Decision Tree.

It is mandatory for FEI Event Organisers to conduct the risk assessment together with their national federation and domestic government and public health authorities. Events for which the FEI has not received the completed risk assessment and mitigation measures plan will be removed from the FEI Calendar.

“Covid-19 has caused massive disruption to the FEI Calendar and to national events, with a huge impact on all the various participants of equestrian sports,” Dr Mark Hart said. “We are all in this together and this pandemic will be with us for at least 12 to 24 months. We need to adapt to a ‘new normal’ as we move forward.

“The FEI is committed to assisting National Federations and FEI Event Organisers by providing resources to effectively assess the risks potentially posed by events from the planning phase and mitigate such risks through relevant measures.

“As we anticipate the gradual return of competitions, we must do everything we can to mitigate the risk of transmission and further spread of Covid-19. This is a matter of public health, and it’s also how a sport can demonstrate to public authorities that it is ready to resume activity.”

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