Dear friends, members and the greater equestrian community,
First and foremost, I hope you are all well and that you and your loved ones are safe.
We are facing an extraordinary situation with the Covid-19 pandemic, and we have all had to adapt both our personal and our working lives in order to play our role in protecting the health and welfare of our nations. This is our collective responsibility and it must be a priority, but it does come at a cost.
Like all industries, the equestrian sporting world has effectively shut down and many of our members are feeling the impact and the related financial strain as a consequence of the restrictions imposed at national level in countries impacted by the virus. All of this is extremely challenging and I want to reiterate our commitment and our determination to help in any way we can to minimise the effects on each and every individual and organisation in our community.
For athletes, your support teams and the nations aiming for Tokyo 2020, this is also extremely challenging as your meticulously planned preparation and training will have to be adapted and modified. I fully appreciate that the uncertainty about the Olympic and Paralympic Games is frustrating, but the FEI is proactively looking at all the measures that will need to be taken in order to guarantee you are given fair and equal opportunities to reach your goals, whilst ensuring that your health and wellbeing always comes first.
We are fortunate that we have completed our Olympic and Paralympic qualifiers, which is sadly not the case for many other sports, but we must continue our preparations and be flexible where we need to be, such as rescheduling cancelled events and potentially extending the timeline around the Minimum Eligibility Requirements (MER), without modifying the requirements themselves.
The disruption to the FEI Calendar as a result of Covid-19 is not just affecting athletes aiming to achieve their MERs, but also has a major impact on the Rankings across all our disciplines. We are monitoring every aspect of the sport and we are taking action wherever needed in order to provide support to our National Federations, our organisers, our athletes, our officials and the entire equestrian industry.
There will have to be compromise and it probably won’t be perfect, but we are absolutely committed to finding the very best solution for our community and for our sport, and I sincerely believe that we will.
Resilience, determination and dedication are synonymous with the equestrian community, and they are the values we will need to embrace now more than ever before in order to overcome the widespread consequences of this global pandemic.
Let me be very clear - the FEI is always here for you. The FEI Headquarters remains fully operational and even though we are working from our homes we will continue to provide all our stakeholders with a professional and proactive service, including regular updates and comprehensive information around Covid-19 and our sport, such as the newly-published FAQ (here).
How we tackle every day, and how we find solutions together will counterbalance the cost for our community. This sense of solidarity and this dedication is not only our remit and our mission, it is what defines our sport and the FEI Family.
Thank you for your time and please be safe.
Ingmar De Vos