The Longines FEI Endurance World Championships 2020 have been postponed until May 2021 due to the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on equestrian sport.
The decision to postpone comes following an agreement between the FEI, the Italian National Federation and the Organisers in Pisa.
The Championships were due to be held at San Rossore, Pisa in September this year, but the pandemic and the restrictions on both travel and training of horses has meant that is was simply not possible to maintain the original date.
The FEI Executive Board and the Endurance Temporary Committee were in favour of postponement and, following consultation with the Endurance Calendar Task Force and meetings with the Italian National Federation and the Pisa Organisers, the move to May 2021 was agreed. Final approval of the postponement was given by the FEI Board at an extraordinary Board meeting held by videoconference on 19 June.
Qualification for the Championships will be under Article 836 of the FEI Endurance Rules (11th Edition), which come into effect on 1 July 2020.
The FEI Board also agreed to prolong the qualification period for these Championships in order to allow more time for horses and athletes to qualify following the disruption to this year’s FEI Calendar caused by the pandemic. Details will be defined by the Endurance Temporary Committee and FEI Headquarters and communicated later.
Two Continental Championships are already scheduled to run next year – the FEI Endurance Pan American Championships for Seniors & Young Riders in Campinas (BRA) from 28-29 July and the FEI Endurance European Championships in Ermelo (NED) from 6-ll September. The FEI last week proactively reached out to all 51 National Federations that compete in Endurance in order to understand their views on the proposed postponement of the World Championships and its potential impact on next year’s Calendar.
National Federations were asked whether they were in favour of postponing the Longines FEI Endurance World Championships to May 2021 and if they would also participate in their region’s Continental Championships if the Worlds were moved to next year.
A total of 34 National Federations responded to the questionnaire, of which 33 were positive, both to the postponement and their participation, where relevant, in one of the Continental Championships next year.
“Our Endurance community made it very clear to the FEI that they want a World Championships, particularly after losing the last edition at Tryon in 2018, but horse welfare and a level playing field could not have been guaranteed if the Championships had run in September, so it was the best solution to move the Championships to May of next year”, FEI Secretary General Sabrina Ibáñez said.
“Having consulted with the National Federations that compete in Endurance, we now feel that we have reached a compromise that works for everyone, but especially for our horses, as there will now be time for them to do the necessary preparation work and achieve their qualification for this major event.”
The Secretary-General is in charge of the FEI Calendar and, throughout the COVID-19 crisis, has chaired the eight discipline-specific Calendar Task Forces that have been working to minimise the impact of the pandemic on the sport and the fixture list.
More than 800 events have already been cancelled and numerous events have been rescheduled.
The FEI Endurance World Championships for Young Horses and the FEI Endurance European Championships for Young Riders & Juniors, which are due to be held in Vic (ESP) from 25-27 September 2020, will be discussed by the FEI Board during this week’s three-day meeting via videoconference (23-25 June).