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Social distancing on podiums, disinfected phones and ‘polite bows’ in new FEI rules

Top three teams can no longer all stand on the podium together as the FEI releases a host of new rules applying to prize-givings, the media and vets.

New rules, which came into force this month, tell riders to replace handshakes, hugs and kisses with “a polite bow” when accepting prizes.

Everyone attending prize-givings must wear masks — unless they are on a horse or driving a carriage — and sanitise their hands on arriving at and leaving the ceremony.

The FEI has now clarified that the top-placed teams must not all stand on the podium at the same time.
“Podiums should not be populated with all three teams simultaneously – the third-placed team receives its prizes and then leaves the podium, followed by a presentation to the second-placed team which then leaves the podium, and finally the presentation to the winning team,” state the new rules.

“There should never be three teams on the podium together. If this is really not possible, the organising committee may consider replacing the podium with a mounted prize-giving.”

It adds that all three riders involved in individual prize givings “can be present on the podium simultaneously, but must maintain maximum social distancing”.

“They must not gather on the top step of the podium for photographs,” it adds. “The individual in charge of the presentation protocol must brief athletes beforehand and ensure they remain on the relevant step of the podium, even if photographers request them to assemble on the top step.”

In other news, journalists are asked to disinfect their phones “before and after” each interview, if they are using them as voice recorders.

One-way systems, social distancing and a preference for outdoor interviews are also mentioned in the full guidance, which was updated on 27 August and applicable from 1 September. (link)

Detailed rules of the PPE required for vets in all scenarios of handling and treating horses at events were also released on 11 September.

These range from hand sanitising between handling every passport and facemasks when interacting with horses and handlers, to vets” making sure they are not sharing pens.

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The latest updates were shared following the FEI board meeting on 10 September.

Key developments from that meeting included the approval of the Covid-19 relief fund for struggling federations, plus the news that a decision on whether to reinstate the cancelled 2021 FEI European Championships had been delayed to 20 October owing to “ongoing discussions”.

The FEI board agreed to allow the FEI showjumping and eventing calendar task forces to discuss the possibility of holding the 2021 European Championships in those disciplines during the dates for the Paralympics, “if no better date could be found”.

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