In their newsletter, the European Equestrian Federation urges the FEI to re-instate the 2021 European Championships back on the show calendar.
Due to ongoing uncertainties of competitions due to Covid 19, the EEF finds it important that a continental championship will be able to take place in 2021 even if the postponed Olympics happen.
Budapest was allocated to host the European Championships in the Olympic and Paralympic disciplines of Jumping, Eventing, Dressage and Para Dressage from 23 August to 5 September 2021. However, the proximity of the Championships to the rescheduled Olympic and Paralympic Games has meant that it is no longer feasible to run Jumping, Dressage and Para Dressage
Theo Ploegmakers, the president of the EEF, addressed the EEF members as following:
Longest general suspension of live events in peacetime
The year 2020 will go down in history as the year when the Covid-19 pandemic has put our society in a semi lock-down at a global scale and within that context the Equestrian sport industry came almost to a complete stand still. Organised sport has never seen anything like this. The longest general suspension of live events, in countries across the globe – in peacetime. The ultimate mega event, the Olympic Games, was rescheduled to 2021 and in Equestrianism many European Championships were initially postponed and eventually canceled. But the sport has reacted, reorganized and resumed even though in strongly adapted economies and societies. Contests were held behind locked doors and organizations worked remotely, struggling to stay financially solvent.
The international Equestrian community and the FEI as its governing body has been able to manage all these challenges with adequate intervention, although there will always be voices to claim that it could and should have been done differently.
Now what? The extraordinary events of 2020 and the still uncertain path of the Covid-19 pandemic have made it almost impossible to make definitive plans for the future. Especially with vaccines and treatments still unclear. Will the Equestrian sport see more or less a normal year, or will the sport be interrupted also in 2021 by numerous uncertainties? What do we need to change when coming back? What do we need to improve? We cannot answer these questions from where we stand today. In order to know what will be possible in 2021, we need to have a clearer view on many critical factors, including, among others, if the Olympic Games will go ahead as planned, if vaccines will be available, or if reliable Track and Trace systems will be in place. One feasible prediction though is that the economy will be under pressure and that revenues out of sponsorship, broadcast and the ticket-paying public will be even less granted as they were already before.
The “new normal” for Equestrian competitions?
The EEF has held, during the first months of the pandemic, video conferences with all its members and stakeholders to learn about their…