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Rescheduled Blue Chip Winter Championships cancelled following tighter Covid restrictions

The rescheduled Blue Chip Winter Showjumping Championships have been cancelled following the announcement of tighter Covid restrictions.

In a statement yesterday (17 December) the organisers said it was with “great sadness and disappointment” the event scheduled to take place from 28 December 2020 to 2 January 2021 at Hartpury Arena is off. The news follows the Government announcement that more areas in England will move into tier three, and Wales will go back into a national lockdown on 28 December. The championships had originally been due to take place from 1-5 April this year.

“While we have made every effort to ensure the success of the rescheduled event, we have been informed that following recent talks between Hartpury University and the local health protection team in Gloucester that any competitors residing within a tier three area will not be permitted to travel to Hartpury Arena unless it is for work purposes,” read the statement.

The statement said with the Government restrictions it had been left “untenable” to host a national final with such large areas of the country unable to participate.

“We are also conscious that the next Government announcement on tier change or lockdown would be due on 30 December, which could close the event partly concluded,” it read.

“When entries opened it was widely predicted that the tier system would continue the downward trend and that many areas in tier three would drop to tier two in the Government review on 16 December. This has not been the case and large parts of England have moved into the highest tier. With a national increase in Covid-19 cases we have a duty of care to all competitors, sponsors and officials to keep them safe and not to encourage the spread of this virus.”

The organisers said the support of the event’s sponsors and officials had been “amazing” and they could not have considered rescheduling without their “superb backing”.

“We all owe them a massive debt of thanks. Full refunds will be paid to everyone entered, minus the My Riding Life booking fee, the Stripe online payment fee and administration fee. These will be processed as quickly as possible,” said a spokesman.

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“It was always a risk to attempt to reschedule the championships but please be assured that we have done our utmost to make this happen in the current unpredictable climate. We thank you for your support and we are bitterly disappointed not to be welcoming everyone to a festive championships.

“The team at Show Direct have worked so hard for months to try to make this happen. We had lots of surprises ready which we hoped would have made it a very special event and something to remember in a year that most of us would like to forget, but sadly circumstances are now once more, beyond our control.”

The spokesman added organisers will now focus on making the 2021 championships in April “extra special”.

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