The FEI will make close to CHF 3 million available in development funding through FEI Solidarity, including just over CHF 1 million through the newly created FEI Covid-19 Relief Fund for National Federations that have been severely impacted by the ongoing pandemic.
The new Relief Fund was approved by the FEI Board at its online meeting on 10 September. Allocation of funds to over 40 National Federation projects in 23 countries and other development initiatives go forward for approval at the FEI General Assembly 2020, which will be hosted online in November.
A total of 105 of the 137 National Federations have been identified as eligible for support from the Covid-19 Relief Fund, which will provide targeted financial assistance to boost grassroots equestrian activities at riding clubs and schools, particularly the care and upkeep of horses.
“The pandemic has had a devastating impact globally, and a major adverse effect on the equestrian world in general but some countries, especially those that had fewer economic resources to begin with, have been hit particularly hard,” FEI President and Chair of the FEI Solidarity Committee Ingmar De Vos said.
“The Covid-19 Relief Fund will provide a financial injection aimed at maintaining equestrian activities in these countries and we hope that it will allow these communities to withstand the current economic difficulties created by the pandemic.
“The FEI has had to undertake cost-saving measures across the board, but without impacting essential services to our community. While this has meant the cancellation or postponement of what we have identified as ‘non-essential’ projects, that has not affected FEI Solidarity, which makes funds available so that we can provide support to those most in need, particularly in the COVID-19 era.
“We want our community to know that we are constantly listening and monitoring their needs and that we are committed to assisting them during this difficult time.”
The FEI Covid-19 Relief Fund was initially presented by the FEI President to the FEI Solidarity Committee during its annual meeting in early September and will be funded by the FEI Solidarity reserves that have been built up in recent years.
During their meeting, the Committee also agreed to make available emergency funding for Lebanon to assist the country’s recovery from the devastating explosion in Beirut at the beginning of August. The funds will be provided to the National Federation of Lebanon to provide vital support to ensure horse welfare.
The FEI Solidarity Committee also awarded the first FEI Gender Equality Grant to the National Federation of Costa Rica, following a bid process open to all National Federations, to support the organisation of courses promoting female participation and development at all levels of the sport in Latin America.
The grant of CHF 20,000 was created to promote and encourage gender equality in equestrian sport around the world and will be awarded annually to one National Federation project or programme with the aim of promoting gender equality on or off the field of play. This includes, but is not limited to, programmes relating to governance and administration, the growth of athlete participation or the development of skills for coaches, officials, grooms and farriers.
“We’re fully committed to providing our members with the tools and resources that will help to develop our sport and promote the values which are at the heart of our community. Gender equality is inherent in our competition structure and we are dedicated to ensure that this is replicated at all levels of management throughout the industry”, Ingmar De Vos said.
“Now, more than ever, we need to stay positive and take concrete action that will assure our long term future. We’re at a crunch point and it is important for us to work together to ensure our collective well-being in the future.”