Coronavirus: all eventing cancelled and racing goes behind closed doors

  • British Eventing (BE) has cancelled all fixtures with immediate effect following the Prime Minister’s update on coronavirus today (16 March).

    Boris Johnson urged the UK to avoid gatherings, non-essential travel and contact with others, along with advising people to work from home where possible to help prevent the spread of the virus.

    “In light of the government announcement today, the board of British Eventing has taken the very difficult decision to cancel all events with immediate effect,” said a statement from BE this evening.

    “The government advice has been to minimise social contact and non-essential travel, and the restrictions on the support of the emergency services means that the responsible decision is to take all action necessary not to further burden the NHS or risk members’ safety at events.

    “We thank all of our members, organisers, officials, volunteers and staff for their support during these unprecedented times. We will continue to monitor the situation and will resume sporting activity as soon as we are able.

    “For those events that have passed ballot date, members will have their entries refunded under the abandonment insurance and those pre-ballot will be refunded in full.”

    The statement added BE will issue more updates as soon as it has any further information.

    Following the government update, a spokesman for Badminton Horse Trials said preparations for the 2020 event “are at present continuing”.
    “However we are monitoring the situation closely,” he added.
    The Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event due to take place on 23-26 April has been cancelled. This is the first time the five-star event has been cancelled in its 42-year history.

    The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) announced today that racing in England, Wales and Scotland will go ahead behind closed doors until at least the end of March. This announcement was prior to the latest message from the PM.

    “The intention is for scheduled race meetings to take place wherever possible. However, the situation is very fluid at present and decisions may have to be made to cancel meetings,” said a statement from the BHA.

    Eight point-to-points have cancelled this coming weekend for a mixture of reasons, including both the ground and Covid-19.

    A statement from British Dressage (BD) said the organisagion will be “reviewing the immediate impact on our activities, competitions and events as an urgent priority” in the light of today’s briefing by the PM and advice from medical experts.

    “The senior management team has been working on contingency plans based on different scenarios over the past week and these will be presented to BD board directors tomorrow,” said the spokesman.

    “An emergency board meeting has already been scheduled to discuss the wide-ranging implications for the sport in more detail and a formal announcement on our plans will be made on Wednesday morning.

    “We appreciate that the coronavirus outbreak will continue to be a major concern for everyone and will work swiftly to update our policies and guidance for organisers and venues over the next 24 hours.

    “It is a hugely complex and ever-evolving situation and we need to ensure that we consider the impact on all of our stakeholder groups.

    “In the meantime, we would urge all of our members to heed the official advice, particularly for those who fall into any of the potential ‘high risk’ categories, including the elderly, pregnant women and those who have underlying health conditions.”

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