Return to competition bylaws for equestrian sport in 37 countries following the European Equine Herpes Virus (EHV-1) outbreak come into force on Monday, April 12.
The bylaws, published by the FEI on March 30, formalise the temporary provisions in the measures that are not covered by either the FEI Veterinary Regulations or the FEI General Regulation. They have now been approved by the FEI Board.
The Return to Competition Bylaws will remain in effect until May 30, 2021, except where indicated otherwise. This period may be extended by the FEI based on an assessment of the EHV-1 situation.
The bylaws are applicable in 37 countries in mainland Europe: Albania; Andorra; Austria; Belgium; Belarus; Bosnia & Herzegovina; Bulgaria; Croatia; Czech Republic; Denmark; Spain; Estonia; Finland; France; Germany; Greece; Hungary; Italy; Latvia; Liechtenstein; Lithuania; Luxembourg; Moldova; Republic of North Macedonia; Monaco; Netherlands; Norway; Poland; Portugal; Romania; Slovenia; Serbia; Switzerland; Slovakia; Sweden; Ukraine and Turkey.
Where there is a mandatory requirement for a negative PCR test for EHV-1 (events with more than 400 horses and overnight stabling, and for all horses before being transported by plane to an FEI event) there is a change to the timeline, as agreed by the FEI Veterinary Epidemiology Working Group.
The original text required that the sample must be taken no earlier than 96 hours before arrival at the event, but this has now been amended to 120 hours because of concerns about the turnaround time for getting test results back from laboratories.
Events in four FEI disciplines – Jumping, Dressage, Eventing and Endurance – are scheduled for the period from April 12 to 25.
An information seminar on April 9 was led by FEI Secretary General Sabrina Ibáñez, with FEI Veterinary Director Göran Akerström presenting the Return To Competition measures specifically applicable to athletes and grooms, as well as the areas of responsibility for organisers, such as stabling, that are particularly relevant to athletes.
FEI Information & Sports Technology Director Gaspard Dufour presented the new features on the FEI HorseApp that will allow for greater traceability, and FEI Legal Director Mikael Rentsch also answered questions.
The FEI is also hosting a training session for Veterinarians and has initiated a series of meetings with organisers to guide them through their obligations under the Return To Competition measures.