The Longines FEI Nations Cup final scheduled to take place on 2-4 October in Barcelona, Spain, has been cancelled as the risks of running are deemed too high.
The joint decision was taken by the FEI, the Spanish national federation and the event’s host, the Real Club de Polo de Barcelona (RCPB).
“We have looked at every scenario, including potentially running the final behind closed doors without spectators, but the combination of the situation in Catalonia [which had a spike in Covid-19 cases towards the end of July] and the ongoing international travel restrictions has meant that we have unfortunately been forced to jointly agree that regrettably this year’s final cannot go ahead, the risks are simply too great,” said FEI president Ingmar de Vos.
“When we announced changes to the rules for the final in April, we were cautiously optimistic that even if the series fell victim to the pandemic, we would be able to save the final, but sadly that has proved impossible.”
The rule change meant 22 nations had been invited to compete at this year’s final: 10 from Europe, including Great Britain and Ireland, three from North America, two from South America, two from the Middle East, two from Asia/Australasia, one apiece from Africa and Eurasia, plus the host nation Spain.
Mr de Vos added it was “devastating news” for everyone involved.
“Not least the athletes who were hoping to compete, our hosts in Barcelona and of course to our top partner Longines, but health and safety has to be our top priority. While we are all very disappointed now, we very much look forward to returning to Barcelona for the final in 2021,” he said.
RCPB Foundation president Emilio Zegri said the decision is “very disappointing” but added the club wanted to transmit a “positive message of hope”.
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“The final is an annual highlight for us, the city of Barcelona and all the national and international spectators who fill the stands year after year, but it was important that we took this decision now, knowing that a last-minute cancellation would have meant significant costs for the national federations having made travel plans for their athletes and horses,” he said.
“We will redouble our efforts so the 2021 final can be celebrated as an outstanding edition.”
In April the European Equestrian Federation (EEF) announced the Longines EEF series had been postponed to 2021. As a result, there will be no promotion or relegation this year, so the division one will start with the same 10 teams for the 2021 season: Belgium, France, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland and Sweden.
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