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Coronavirus pandemic: international bodies call for equestrian sport to halt

International federations are calling on event organisers not to run competitions for at least the next four weeks.

The FEI has emailed national federations to ask them not to run FEI events, while the European Equestrian Federation (EEF) and the International Jumping Riders Club (IJRC)  have called for all national federations to halt competitions with immediate effect until the end of April.

The FEI said the coronavirus situation has “taken a rapid turn for the worse”.

“We as a community have to make our contribution to limit the spread of this virus, as the sooner it can be contained the sooner we will be able to get back to normal life and normal sport,” the email read. “And this is something that every other sport is doing.

“The FEI appreciates the amount of work and incredible investment every organiser puts into their event. While the FEI does not itself organise any events, in light of the escalating numbers of persons affected by the virus and the restrictions imposed by national governments, the FEI strongly recommends that organisers should cancel all events for the next four weeks until a reassessment of the situation can be made.”

In a joint statement released today (13 March), the EEF and IJRC said their call “should be regarded as an urgent advice and was prompted by the outbreak of the covid-19 virus”.

“It is an established fact that the ultimate decision whether or not to hold an equestrian competition is and remains the responsibility of the organisations themselves, and of the policies that are or will be determined by the government of each country,” said the statement.

“The EEF will continue to monitor developments around the outbreak of the covid-19 virus on a daily basis and will provide additional advice if there is reason to do so.

“The EEF assumes that everyone involved in the equestrian world in any way is aware of their social responsibility and will follow this urgent advice wherever possible.”

From 16 March, all US Equestrian-owned events, selection trials, training camps, clinics, and activities will be suspended for 30 days.

In a statement, the federation said: “Additionally, USEF strongly recommends that competition organisers suspend all USEF-licensed competitions across the country for the next 30 days and that equestrians do not compete for the next 30 days.

“For those competitions that do run, there will be no accumulation of points, scores, money won, qualifications, or rankings toward any USEF awards programs, USEF owned event, or selection to a US team during this 30-day time period. This includes USEF national championships.”

The British Equestrian Federation (BEF) said earlier today: “The BEF continues to closely monitor the coronavirus pandemic in Britain and around the world. We continue to follow government advice and are working closely with our member bodies to implement any restrictions required, including any requirements for the staff within our organisations.

“Following yesterday’s government Cobra committee meeting, the Prime Minister announced the status of the pandemic had changed from the ‘containment’ phase to a ‘delay’ phase.

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“We advise everyone to continue to follow government advice because this is a public health issue. Public Health England is the lead organisation and we urge our stakeholders to closely follow their guidance.

“At this time, over England, Wales and Northern Ireland, there are no plans are in place to suspend major public events or close schools. Therefore, there are no restrictions on equestrian sport or activity.”

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