Covid-19 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

In order to keep everyone informed, the FEI has created this Frequently Asked Questions page on how the Coronavirus Covid-19 is affecting our community. The information will be regularly updated as the situation evolves; (if you are viewing this on your mobile, please adjust it to landscape mode to have a better view of the contents).

Cancellation of FEI Events

As an Organiser, am I obliged to cancel my event?

While the FEI does not itself organise any FEI Events, in light of the escalating numbers of persons affected by the Coronavirus and its new strains, the FEI strongly recommends that Organisers liaise and comply with the restrictions imposed by their national governments as well as the FEI Policy for Enhanced Competition Safety during the Covid-19 Pandemic.

Are Athletes reimbursed if an Event is cancelled?
For Athlete reimbursement of entry fees for cancelled events please contact the Organising Committee of the event concerned. 
What is the status of Events on the FEI Calendar? Will more Events be postponed or cancelled? 

Any decision on the cancellation of international Events remains with the Organising Committee and the National Federation in accordance with the national law applicable in each country. A list of cancelled events can be found here.

Is it possible for an Organiser who is postponing an Event to “reserve” a future date?

Currently, our Regulations do not allow dates to be reserved. We are not going to accept any date changes for the moment as we need to receive all the requests first. The FEI does not know how many Events will be impacted nor how long the current situation will last. We understand how extremely difficult the situation is for Organisers, but clearly no single Organiser can be favoured to the detriment of others.

The FEI is creating a series of discipline-specific task forces to evaluate the impact on the FEI Calendar of the Covid-19 pandemic and the postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Each working group will be chaired by the FEI Secretary General, who has overall responsibility for the FEI Calendar, and will involve all the relevant stakeholders, including the President of the International Equestrian Organisers Association. Please refer to the press release here.

Financial Measures

What has been the financial impact of Covid-19 on the FEI?

Our income has already been seriously affected by the pandemic, but thanks to processes put in place after a full risk management assessment three years ago, the financial position of the FEI remains solid. However, we have taken a number of important measures to reduce outgoings and minimise the major impact of the outbreak on our community, sport and the FEI.

What steps is the FEI taking to mitigate this loss of income?

In order to help stabilise the financial viability of the organisation and to safeguard jobs in the long-term, the FEI has put 60% of its staff on temporary partial unemployment as of 15 April for on average 25 to 30% of FEI total hours. We expect these measure to be maintained for the next few months.

Having this option of temporary partial unemployment offered by the Swiss government, has meant we have been able to avoid having to resort to permanent lay-offs and we can maintain our valued and incredibly skilled workforce.

Freeze on recruitment is maintained other than replacing people leaving, for the time being, until we have a better clarity on the situation. In addition to the temporary partial unemployment of HQ staff, we are taking all possible cost saving measures to reduce our expenditure, including the postponement of non-essential projects. Cost cutting is necessary, but the measures taken should allow the FEI to survive this crisis and limit the financial damage as much as possible.

Despite all these measures, the fact that our staff have been working from home since 13 March resulting in more meetings than ever taking place via videoconferencing, our service to National Federations and stakeholders remain unaffected.

What is being done to assist Organisers and other stakeholders during this time?

Annual subscriptions for our 136 National Federations will be reduced to 50% this year, and we have extended the deadline for all invoices to be paid from 30 to 90 days.

Additionally, the Late Calendar fee and the fee for date changes will not be applicable for Organisers in 2021.

Tokyo 2020

What are the new dates for the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo 2021?

The new dates are 23 July to 8 August 2021 for the Olympic Games and 24 August to 5 September 2021 for the Paralympic Games. The Games will retain their current name and will continue to be known as the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, or simply Tokyo 2020, even though they will take place in 2021. 

Are the Olympic and Paralympic qualifiers impacted by Covid-19?

No, all qualifiers for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in the three Equestrian disciplines, Jumping, Dressage and Eventing, and all qualifiers for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, have already taken place and all the quota places have been filled accordingly.

International Olympic Committee (IOC) Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 Qualification system principles Q and A

Important questions applicable to equestrian sport have been extracted from the Q&A created by the IOC about Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. The full Q&A can be found here.
What is the new definite entries deadline for the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020?

Following the rescheduling of Tokyo 2020, the revised definite entries deadline is now 5 July 2021 for the Olympic Games and 2 August 2021 for the Paralympic Games.

How is the age eligibility criteria affecting athletes now that the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 have been rescheduled?

Any exception due to safety and/or medical reasons and/or any restriction on those athletes who reached the minimum age for eligibility by the revised deadline in 2021, if any, will be subject to the decision of the respective IF. The IOC recognises the full authority of IFs to assess the eligibility of those athletes who are not eligible in July 2020 but meet the lower age limit in 2021.

Will National Olympic Committees (NOC) which could not achieve their Certificate of Capability (COC) by the deadline now have the opportunity to send their COC at a later date?

All team quota places have been allocated for equestrian sport. The confirmation of a NOC to reject or accept the allocated quota places cannot be reversed.

Will MERs obtained for Tokyo 2020 expire? / What is the approved timeframe for MERS now that the Games have been postponed by a year? 

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Due to the postponement of the Olympic Games and the impossibility for athletes to compete currently due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the following modifications have been made to the Athletes Eligibility section:

  • Introduction of a new concept: “Confirmation Result” for the three disciplines only for those Athlete/Horse combinations that had achieved the Minimum Eligibility Requirements (MER) during the period 1 January 2019 to 31 December 2019. This has been introduced to ensure that all Athlete/Horse combinations that will compete at the rescheduled Olympic Games have achieved an appropriate result during a reasonable period of time before the Olympic Games.
  • Rescheduling the MER Deadline to 21 June 2021 (three weeks later than the corresponding deadline in 2020) to maximise opportunities for Athlete/Horse combinations (including new combinations) to obtain the MER.
  • 21 June 2021 has been set as the deadline for Athlete/Horse combinations to achieve the Confirmation Result (where applicable).

The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games Qualification systems are available on the FEI website here and the IOC has also provided the Equestrian qualification systems to the National Olympic Committees.

Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games

Due to the postponements of the Paralympic Games, and the impossibility for athletes to compete currently due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the following modifications have been made to the Athlete Eligibility section:

  • To be eligible for selection by an NPC, athletes must:
    Be internationally classified with a ‘Confirmed’ sport class status or a ‘Review’ sport class status with a review date after 31 December 2021.
  • To be eligible for selection by an NPC, athlete/horse combinations must:
    Have achieved at least one (1) sixty-two (62) percent score at a FEI Para Equestrian 3* or above event in an Individual or Team competition between 1 January 2019 and 5 July 2021.

The Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games Qualification systems are available on the FEI website here.

Is the IOC looking at the potential impact of Covid-19 for the Tokyo Games this year?

A number of measures addressing the potential impact of COVID-19 have be incorporated into the Games Delivery Plan for the Games in 2021. This has been done in form of Games Playbooks for all the key Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games stakeholders which are now available here.

The Playbooks are the basis of a collective game plan to ensure that all Olympic and Paralympic Games participants and the people of Tokyo and Japan are safe and healthy this summer. They outline the responsibilities of all Games participants and the rules that must be followed – starting 14 days before travel as well as entry to Japan, throughout the Games, and departing. The dedicated playbooks for each of the stakeholder groups are as follows:

•        Press 

•        Broadcasters

•        International Federations (and ITOs)

•        Athletes & Officials

The IOC has created a detailed document on the revised Tokyo 2020 qualification system principles.

Rankings

What is the status for the Rankings of all FEI Disciplines?

Since 1 April 2020, the period during which ranking points remain valid in Jumping (Longines Rankings), Eventing, Dressage and Para Dressage will be prolonged by one month and will continue to be prolonged for an additional month with each new ranking until the competition calendar returns to normal.

Points earned in ranking competitions at events that take place during the current Covid-19 affected period will continue to count, and the maximum number of results that count for each athlete will remain, ie for the Longines Jumping Rankings best 30; Dressage best eight; Eventing and Para Dressage best six.

Rankings for the other FEI disciplines – Driving, Endurance, Vaulting and Reining – are calculated on a fixed period (calendar year or other fixed period) so they will remain untouched. The change to the Driving Rules that means the discipline rankings will be based on a rolling 12 months does not come into effect until 1 January 2021.

For Jumping, Eventing, Dressage and Para Dressage, the following system will apply:

  • The rankings established after 29 February 2020 remain unchanged (points valid for 12 months: best results at events taking place between 1 March 2019 and 29 February 2020).
  • The rankings established after 31 March 2020 have been calculated based on the best results at events taking place between 1 March 2019 and 31 March 2020 (points valid for 13 months).
  • The rankings established after 30 April 2020 have been calculated based on the best results at events taking place between 1 March 2019 and 30 April 2020 (points valid for 14 months).
  • The rankings established after 31 May 2020 have been calculated based on the best results at events taking place between 1 March 2019 and 31 May 2020 (points valid for 15 months).
  • and so on until the competition calendar returns to normal.

A working group will recommend to the FEI Board at what point the competition calendar is deemed to have returned to normal worldwide. As of that date, the rankings will continue to be calculated over the extended timeframes above, guaranteeing there will always be at least 12 months of normal competitions included in the calculation of the rankings.

Twelve months after the competition calendar is deemed to have returned to normal globally, the timeframe during which ranking points remain valid will be decreased by one month with each new ranking until the standard 12-month rolling timeframe has been reached.

The new system provides a level playing field for all our athletes as ranking points can still be earned in countries where the sport is able to continue, regardless of the length of time the current situation lasts, but athletes in countries where the sport is on hold will not lose points. An athlete’s ranking points can only improve, not decrease during this period, as the relevant number of best results in each discipline still applies.

Full details on New Covid-19 Policy for Longines Rankings can be found here.

Full details on New Covid-19 Policy for other disciplines Rankings can be found here.

FEI Officials

Are FEI Officials obliged to travel to events where they are appointed?

FEI Officials appointed to FEI Events have the option not to travel or may be unable to travel. If the Official has been appointed by the FEI, they are required to inform the FEI that they are cancelling their appointment, following which the relevant Sport Department will, where possible, seek a replacement.

If the Official is appointed by the Organising Committee or National Federation, in the first instance it is up to the OC/NF to find a replacement, but you can contact the FEI in case you need support.

Are FEI Officials covered by the FEI travel insurance policy?

Official Veterinarians and Testing Technicians that are appointed directly by, and travelling on behalf of the FEI – Testing Veterinarians, Testing Technicians, Examining Veterinarians and Measuring Veterinarians - are covered by the FEI travel insurance

All other Officials will need to contact the relevant Organising Committee directly.

Who is responsible for the reimbursement of Officials for any costs incurred due to the cancellation of an event?

FEI appointed Officials will be reimbursed by the FEI for any costs already incurred prior to the cancellation of an event.

Officials appointed by the Organising Committee will be reimbursed by the Organising Committee for any costs and should contact them directly.

Are FEI Officials expected to know, and comply with, an OC’s Covid-19 measures at an Event?

Yes. Under the FEI Policy for Enhanced Competition Safety during the Covid-19 Pandemic, OCs are responsible for implementing and enforcing the Covid-19 risk mitigation measures they decided for their Event.

These measures are published by the FEI together with the approved Draft Schedule at the latest five working days before the Event deadline for definite entries. FEI Officials are expected to have read these documents before their arrival at the Event, and to comply with the measures whilst on site.

Are FEI Officials required to assess or monitor an OC’s Covid-19 measures?

No. However, FEI Officials can provide relevant feedback to the FEI on their Event report (paper or online) concerning the Covid-19 measures in place.

Both the online and paper forms have been updated to include a Covid-19 section. For any future paper Event reports, please ensure you use the updated forms, available in the discipline-specific Official hubs.       

 

Are FEI Officials responsible for implementing an OC’s Covid-19 measures?

No. The implementation of the Covid-19 plan is the OC’s responsibility. In order to ensure that all the measures in their plan are carried out consistently and systematically, OCs must allocate appropriate resources in staff, volunteers, and service providers.

Are FEI Officials responsible for sanctioning people who do not comply with an OC’s Covid-19 measures?

Under the FEI Policy for Enhanced Competition Safety during the Covid-19 Pandemic, all persons attending an FEI Event must comply with the measures put in place by the OC as a condition of their presence on the venue.
The OC must monitor compliance with the Covid-19 measures. Individuals who refuse to comply can be asked to leave by the OC.    
FEI Officials are not required to monitor compliance with and enforce the Covid-19 measures. If they see a non-compliance issue on the venue, they can inform the OC, but they cannot fine or issue disciplinary sanctions for it.     
The FEI Policy for Enhanced Competition Safety during the Covid-19 Pandemic intentionally avoids placing too much burden on FEI Officials’ shoulders, and deliberately limits their reporting to key issues (which the FEI will then follow up). This does not mean that FEI Officials have no role to play in relation to safety at the Event and Covid-19. Your compliance with the measures will inspire participants. Your awareness that this is a stressful time for all and that we must be patient and open with each other, will help solve issues. Your cooperation will be a great support for OCs. Your feedback to the FEI, should you have any, will help us to continually update our approach in a rapidly evolving environment.

 

How will the education system for FEI Officials work under the current circumstances? Updated 20 April 2021

In light of Covid-19, the following updates have been made to the Maintenance Requirements for Officials including:

1.  Officiating Requirements for 2020/2021

Officials who normally had until 15 December 2020 to fulfil their Officiating Requirements now have their deadline extended to 15 December 2021. The years 2020 and 2021 are considered as one period (24 month).

2.  CES Requirements for 2020/2021

Group A Officials in 2021

All Group A Officials will have to take their CES Online Assessment on FEI Campus before 15 December 2021. Please also note that:

  • Officials must have passed the CES Online Assessment PRIOR to officiate at events taking place after 31 March of each year. If not taken by the 31 March 2021, the function is “on hold*”: the Official is not listed and not allowed to officiate, until he takes and passes the CES Online Assessment.
  • If the CES Online Assessment is not taken at all by 15 December 2021, the function will be closed and they will need to re-enter the system.

*Officiating at International Events while the function is on hold may result in the opening of disciplinary proceedings and potential sanctions (GRs Art.163).
 

Group B Officials in 2020 and 2021

Due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, not enough In-Person Maintenance Courses can be organised in 2021 to allow all Group B Officials to fulfil their Maintenance Requirements in time.

Therefore, and based on a decision of the FEI Board from Tuesday 6 April 2021, an Emergency Virtual Maintenance Programme has been created which is now available as a second option to all Group B Officials until the end of 2021.

Here are the two Options for Group B Officials:

Option 1: Take an In-Person Maintenance Course with assessment (actual option)

Option 2: Take the Emergency Virtual Maintenance Programme (new additional option)

In the beginning of May 2021, all Group B Officials will receive an email informing them about the two options, procedures and steps to be taken.

Before 1 June 2021, all Group B Officials must notify the FEI of their choice for each function they have in Group B, by using the notification method provided in the information email they received in the beginning of May.

Once the Official has signed up for the Emergency Virtual Maintenance Programme (Option 2), the Official cannot change back to the In-Person Maintenance Course with assessment (Option 1).

Officials in Group B who already attended and passed the In-Person Maintenance Course with assessment before 15 December 2020 became “Group A” in 2021, and will be required to take a CES Online Assessment before 15 December 2021.

For the full description of CES Requirements, please refer to the FEI Competency-Based Evaluation System (CES) section “Getting started…” on inside.FEI.org.

Veterinary and Horse care

In view of the current Covid-19 situation, will there be any derogations made by the FEI in relation to the Equine Influenza (EI) vaccination requirements?

The FEI has determined that derogations from the EI vaccination requirements will not be permitted. Horses must be vaccinated in compliance with the Veterinary Regulations, Article 1003 in order to compete.

In view of the current Covid-19 situation, will there be any derogations made by the FEI in relation to Pony Measurement?

Subject to Article 20.3 of the FEI Statutes, on 18 November 2020, the FEI Board approved the extension of the derogation from Article 1087.2 of the Veterinary Regulations until 30 June 2021. This allows ponies newly registered as of 1 January 2020 to compete without an FEI height certificate.

How do I take care of my horse(s) properly and ride safely in the current situation?

Please make sure you follow the governmental measures put in place in your country, keep yourself informed through your National Federation on the rules to respect if you are able to ride out and respect the local rules at your stables.

Some common best practices in the current situation include:

  • Coordinate with other horse owners to limit the number of people at the stables at the same time by creating a timetable or WhatsApp group 
  • Maintain the required physical distance from other persons 
  • Make sure to use only your own riding equipment and do not share it
  • If you need to use shared equipment, such as wheelbarrows, disinfect areas you touch and wear disposable gloves if possible
  • Avoid behaviour that could increase the risk of injury
  • Do not linger at the stables

World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Q&A

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has updated its Covid-19: Athlete Q&A with additional content to reflect the changing testing environment and the fact that a growing number of Anti-Doping Organizations (ADOs) are resuming normal testing. Both this Q&A and the original document, which was published by WADA on 23 March 2020, have been developed in consultation with WADA’s Athlete Committee.

WADA also updated its guidance to ADOs on 6 May 2020 to produce the ADO Guidance for Resuming Testing.

World Health Organization (WHO) Q&A on Coronaviruses (Covid-19)

Where can FEI Athletes, Organisers, National Federations and Stakeholders find general information about Covid-19?

We as a community have to make our contribution to limit the spread of this virus, as the sooner it can be contained the sooner we will be able to get back to normal life and normal sport. And this is something that every other sport is doing.
It is our collective responsibility to remain fully informed through our own national health authorities and the World Health Organization (WHO). 
There is lots of information available on the WHO website and the FEI will also keep you regularly updated. For convenience, we have copied the WHO Q&A below. 

World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE)

The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), the intergovernmental organisation responsible for improving animal health worldwide, has created a Q&A on Covid-19 in response to multiple queries about animals and the virus.

 
Can humans transmit Covid-19 virus to animals?

Now that Covid-19 virus infections are widely distributed in the human population there is a possibility for some animals to become infected through close contact with infected humans. 

Studies are underway to better understand the susceptibility of different animal species to the Covid-19 virus and to assess infection dynamics in susceptible animal species.

Currently, there is no evidence to suggest that animals infected by humans are playing a role in the spread of Covid-19. Human outbreaks are driven by person-to-person contact.

What do we know about Covid-19 virus and companion animals?

The current spread of Covid-19 is a result of human-to-human transmission. To date, there is no evidence that companion animals spread the disease. Therefore, there is no justification in taking measures against companion animals which may compromise their welfare. 

The Veterinary Services of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China reported to OIE evidence that two dogs have been infected with the Covid-19 virus following close exposure to owners who were sick with Covid-19 – see Immediate Notification (01/03/2020), Follow-up report no.1 (09/03/2020), Follow-up report no. 2 (16/03/2020) and Follow-up report no. 3 (23/03/2020). The test, conducted by real time PCR, showed the presence of genetic material from the Covid-19 virus. The dogs were not showing any clinical signs of the disease. 

There is no evidence that dogs play a role in the spread of this human disease or that they become sick. Further studies are underway to understand if and how different animals could be affected by Covid-19 virus. The OIE will continue to provide updates as new information becomes available.

What precautionary measures should be taken by owners when companion or other animals have close contact with humans who are sick or suspected of having Covid-19?

There have not been any reports of companion or other animals presenting clinical signs caused by Covid-19 virus infection and currently there is no evidence that they play a significant epidemiological role in this human disease. However, because animals and people can sometimes share diseases (known as zoonotic diseases), it is still recommended that people who are sick with Covid-19 limit contact with companion and other animals until more information is known about the virus.

When handling and caring for animals, basic hygiene measures should always be implemented. This includes hand washing before and after being around or handling animals, their food, or supplies, as well as avoiding kissing, licking or sharing food.

When possible, people who are sick or under medical attention for Covid-19 should avoid close contact with their pets and have another member of their household care for their animals. If they must look after their pet, they should maintain good hygiene practices and wear a face mask if possible.

Are there any precautions to take with live animals or animal products? 

Although there is uncertainty about the origin of the Covid-19 virus, in accordance with advice offered by the World Health Organization (WHO), as a general precaution, when visiting live animal markets, wet markets or animal product markets, general hygiene measures should be applied. These include regular hand washing with soap and potable water after touching animals and animal products, as well as avoiding touching eyes, nose or mouth, and avoiding contact with sick animals or spoiled animal products. Any contact with other animals possibly living in the market (e.g., stray cats and dogs, rodents, birds, bats) should be avoided. Precaution should be taken to avoid contact with animal waste or fluids on the soil or surfaces of shops and market facilities.

As per general good food safety practices, raw meat, milk or animal organs should be handled with care to avoid potential cross-contamination with uncooked foods. Meat from healthy livestock that is prepared and served in accordance with good hygiene and food safety principles remains safe to eat. Further recommendations from WHO can be consulted here.

Based on currently available information, trade restrictions on animals or animal products are not recommended. Similarly, precautions for packaging materials are unnecessary over and above the observation of basic hygiene, such as ensuring it is clean and free of visible contamination.

What are the Veterinary Authority’s international responsibilities in this event?

The detection of Covid-19 virus in animals meets the criteria for reporting to the OIE through WAHIS, in accordance with the OIE Terrestrial Animal Health Code as an emerging disease.

Therefore, any detection of the Covid-19 virus in an animal (including information about the species, diagnostic tests, and relevant epidemiological information) should be reported to the OIE.

It is important for Veterinary Authorities to remain informed and maintain close liaison with public health authorities and those responsible for wildlife to ensure coherent and appropriate risk communication messages and risk management.

It is important that Covid-19 does not lead to inappropriate measures being taken against domestic or wild animals which might compromise their welfare and health or have a negative impact on biodiversity. 

In some countries, National Veterinary Services are supporting core functions of the public health response, such as screening and testing of surveillance and diagnostic samples from humans. Veterinary clinics in some countries are also supporting the public health response by donating essential materials such as personal protective equipment and ventilators.

What is the OIE doing?

The OIE is in contact with its Regional Representation in Asia and The Pacific, OIE Delegates of Member Countries, the OIE Wildlife Working Group, as well as the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and WHO, to gather and share the latest available information. The OIE is closely liaising with its network of experts involved in current investigations on the source of the disease. Rumours and unofficial information are also monitored daily. 
The OIE has mobilised an informal advisory group on Covid-19. The group, which includes world leading scientists and researchers, meets on a regular basis to share the latest information on research and disease events at the human-animal interface. 

Given the similarities between Covid-19 and the emergence of other human infectious diseases at the human animal interface, the OIE is working with its Wildlife Working Group and other partners to develop a longer term work programme which aims to better understand the dynamics and risks around wildlife trade and consumption, with a view to developing strategies to reduce the risk of future spill over events.