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Plug pulled on five-star international showjumping series for 2020: organisers plan ahead for 2021

The remainder of the 2020 Longines Global Champions Tour (GCT) and Global Champions League (GCL) have been cancelled as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

A statement from organisers said it is “not realistic” to safely stage the circuit this year and the series will return in 2021.

“We must follow the laws of national governments and public health authorities, which change regularly and at short notice, having a major impact on international planning,” it adds.

“Restrictions on travel vary around the world, so not all riders will have the freedom to compete. There is also the risk of a second wave later this year, in the absence of a cure or vaccine, which further complicates logistical planning.”

GCT and GCL president Jan Tops thanked organising partners, GCL team owners and title sponsor Longines for their “tremendous support and understanding”.

“None of us could have foreseen the scale of this global emergency and the suffering so many people are going through,” he said.

“Our priority must continue to be the health and safety of our fans, our staff, the athletes and their teams and those living in the locations of our events. So it is with great regret we have decided to cancel the remaining shows this year.

“Now we must all pull together to build a positive future after the pandemic, adapting and adjusting to deliver incredible sport in 2021 and beyond.”

Neil Moffitt, owner of 2018 and 2019 GCL championship-winning team London Knights added: “As a founding GCL team owner, [I believe] this is the right decision as it is more important to maintain the integrity and quality of the league than to try to stage a few shows this year in this extremely challenging and uncertain environment.

“GCL is not a one-off event, it is a prestigious championship with knock-out stages, like the [football] Champions League in Europe. We look forward to continuing our successful campaign in the seasons ahead.”

Valkenswaard, which was due to hold a GCT leg in August, may still go ahead as a standard CSI5* show if government restrictions allow.

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End of the road for Palm Beach Masters

The 2020 GCT/GCL news follows the another major blow to the international showjumping calendar.

The organisers of the Palm Beach Masters revealed on 22 May that they will no longer operate the series owing to “ongoing and unforeseen lasting impacts” of the coronavirus pandemic.

The series has hosted the Wellington leg of the Longines FEI World Cup series since 2016, and the 2019 US leg of the FEI Nations Cup series.

“It was a great honor to host the Palm Beach Masters Series at Deeridge Farms in Wellington, FL. From the beginning, my family was committed to producing a world-class event benefiting the most accomplished equestrians from across the globe,” said Palm Beach Masters Series founder Lou Jacobs.

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