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FEI reviews a number of scenarios for the 2020/2021 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ series

Friday, 23 October 2020
2020/2021 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ series

 

Text © GrandPrix & World of Showjumping 

 


 

Traditionally the highlight of the indoor season in Europe, the Western European League of the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ has been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic as measures and restrictions are tightening in most countries. Until now, eight of the thirteen legs in the Western European League have been cancelled – most recently Longines Equita Lyon that was planned for the last week of October. The Western European League is the biggest in the global Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ series with eighteen riders qualifying for the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final, followed by the North American League that sends a total of fourteen athletes. The North American League has also been hit hard by the pandemic, with six of its eight legs cancelled. 

Cancelled legs WEL 2020/2021

Cancelled legs NAL 2020/2021

Oslo 14-18 October 

Sacramento 30 September-4 October

Helsinki 22-25 October 

Washington 21-24 October

Lyon 27 October-1 November 

Toronto 10-14 November

Stuttgart 11-15 November 

Las Vegas 18-22 November

Madrid 26-29 November

Fort Worth 16-20 December

La Coruna 11-13 December 

Wellington 2-7 February

London 16-21 December

 

Amsterdam 28-31 January 

 

Remaining legs WEL 2020/2021

Remaining legs NAL 2020/2021

Verona 5-8 November

Lexington 27 October-1 November

Mechelen 26-30 December

Guadalajara 20-24 January

Basel 7-10 January

 

Leipzig 14-17 January

 

Bordeaux 4-7 February

 

FEI has alternative qualification pathways ready

With so many qualifying events cancelled, the FEI has been forced to take action. “The FEI Board approved the FEI World Cup™ Covid-19 By-Laws at a meeting in September, and plans are now in place for an alternative qualification pathway to the Final,” a FEI spokesperson commented to GrandPrix and World of Showjumping. “Should there be further cancellations due to the global pandemic, the Calendar will be updated accordingly and any further amendments that are required to the Rules would be proposed directly to the FEI Board. Along with the Gothenburg Organising Committee, we are constantly monitoring the ongoing situation and impact of this global health crisis and will keep the equestrian community updated.”

As to the prospects of a global final during the first week of April 2021 in Gothenburg, Sweden, the spokesperson said: “The FEI is working in close collaboration with the Gothenburg Organising Committee hosting the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final 2021 next April and is reviewing a number of scenarios to find the best solutions and measures to ensure the health and safety of everyone involved. This will factor in all athletes, both human and equine, along with support staff, Officials, the media and spectators. Obviously the goal is to run the best possible Final we can in challenging circumstances.”

No doubt about the ambition

The Swedish organisers at Got Event have also flagged that they are aiming to host the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final 2021 as planned. “A lot is uncertain right now but there is no doubt about the ambition,” Erika Olsson – project leader for Gothenburg Horse Show at Got Event – said in a statement. 

“We have the ambition to run the Gothenburg Horse Show 2021 with the health and welfare of everyone involved in our minds at all times, following the guidelines and safety requirements from national and local authorities, still securing a sustainable commercial output."

“We are in permanent contact with the FEI and follow the developments closely when it comes to the qualifying leagues,” Tomas Torgersen – show director for Gothenburg Horse Show – added in the statement. “We are in a continuous dialogue with our organising colleagues in Europe to draw experience from their events.”

Got Event, organisers of Gothenburg Horse Show, is now collecting important knowledge about opening arenas during an ongoing pandemic. “Both national and international football is being played at our arenas,” said Lotta Nibell – CEO at Got Events. “The Swedish Hockey League has also begun, with Frölunda [one of the SHL teams] already playing in Scandinavium. For now, the matches are without spectators, but we hope to open the grandstands successively and have an internal working group that will specialise on event safety during the Covid-19 pandemic. The experience and knowledge gathered will of course be transferable to Gothenburg Horse Show, which is our own event. We also have to remember that Gothenburg Horse Show, one of Gothenburg’s yearly returning events, is of big importance to the city as it generates considerable income for a hard-hit hospitality industry. Our hope is to have an Easter weekend in Gothenburg filled with horses.”

New FEI World Cup™ Covid-19 By-Laws for 2020/2021

The road there might seem long though with the dire prospects October has had on offer. European governments have been tightening restrictions as Covid-19 cases are surging, again implementing regional curfews and partial lockdowns. Under the current circumstances, an indoor World Cup circuit does not seem very likely. 

However, with the alternative qualification rules in the FEI World Cup™ Covid-19 By-Laws the FEI has taken all scenarios into account – also the total cancellation of an entire league. While the By-Laws might be further updated depending on the development of the situation in the various leagues, they already include extensive alternative solutions for the possible different outcomes. The By-Laws also have regulations that open for more flexibility when it comes to calendar deadlines and ease up the requirements for overall prize money, which potentially can make life slightly easier for the organisers.

 

Cancelled leagues

Should a league end up with all its qualifying events for the 2020/2021 season cancelled, it will be the FEI Athlete/Horse Combination Ranking that will be used to determine the respective qualifications. The ranking will be established based on results obtained in competitions counting for the Longines Ranking during the time period in effect for the Longines Ranking of 28 February 2021. The number of competitions to count for the FEI Athlete/Horse Combination Ranking will be limited to fifteen, and it will also take into account the number of starters that finish the competition according to a point scale. In classes with thirty riders or more, full points will be awarded, with 25-29 riders 95% of the points, with 20-24 riders 90% of the points and so on. 

 

Incomplete leagues

Leagues that have had one or more qualifying events cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic, resulting in less than three qualifiers remaining in the 2020/2021 calendar prior to the start of the league, are designated as incomplete leagues. 

However, the results of the remaining qualifier or qualifiers in the 2020/2021 calendar can be used to establish the league standings in certain cases: 

For incomplete leagues that include more than one national federation, but in which Covid-19 travel restrictions prevent the participation for some of these in the league’s one or two qualifier(s) in the calendar, the league will not be cancelled. Instead the World Cup points will be allocated for the qualifier(s) concerned, but only if riders from at least three countries from the league participate. The league standings will be established taking into account only the qualifier(s) in which at least three national federations from the league participate. If this is not the case, the FEI Athlete/Horse Combination Ranking will be used to determine qualification for the final. 

For incomplete leagues which involve only one national federation, the league will not be cancelled and the results of the remaining one or two qualifier(s) in the 2020/2021 calendar will count for the league standings which will be used to determine qualification for the final.

 

North American League 

Special rules haves been made for the North American League, that has had six of its eight qualifying events cancelled. Here it has been decided that the two remaining qualifiers in the 2020/2021 calendar will not count towards qualification for the final. As the North American League rules establish a specific number of qualification places per national federation for the final, Canada, Mexico and USA will be responsible for selecting their riders to fill their respective qualification quotas. Seven US riders from East USA (USEF Zones 1-7), three US riders from West USA (USEF Zones 8-12), two Canadian riders and two Mexican riders will be selected by their respective national federations.

 

Central European League 

The Central European League has also been given additional rules. The standings for each Sub-League – Northern and Southern – will be established taking into account all qualifying events in which at least three Central European League national federations participate. Should national federations be prevented from participating in Central European League qualifying events due to Covid-19 travel restrictions, the FEI Jumping Committee may consider allowing additional Central European League athletes to be invited for the Central European League Final according to specific criteria to be established. 

Finally, if any leagues are unable to fill their quota place(s) for the 2021 Final for any reason, the Jumping Committee can consider allowing substitutions to be taken from other leagues. The specific criteria is to be established by the FEI. 

 

Opening for CSI4*-W events in the Western European League

Furthermore, the By-Laws slightly soften some of the requirements for the Western European League organisers. First of all, exceptions to the deadline for submitting dates to the FEI World Cup™ calendar have been made for 1* to 4* events. The FEI can also on a case by case basis authorize a CSI-W in Western Europe to have the status of a CSI4* event – rather than the normally required 5* – but only for the 2020/2021 season and under certain conditions. For example, the overall level on the quality of the event must be maintained like in the past, only the overall prize money for the event may be of CSI4* level and the FEI World Cup™ competition may not offer less prize money than was offered at the same event in the 2019/2020 season. The event must comply with all other requirements for CSI5* events as detailed in the Jumping Rules Annex VI art. 1 (CSI Requirements Worldwide) and Annex VI art. 2.1 (Additional Requirements for Europe). The organisers can also not increase fees or charge the riders other new fees than those that were charged at their event in the 2019/2020 season. 

Western European League updates

As European governments continue to tighten the restrictions in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, the remaining World Cup organisers in the Western European League are assessing the situation as it develops. In Belgium, the organisers of Jumping Mechelen – scheduled for 26-30 December – are considering relocating the event to Azelhof in Lier which is a permanent venue that hosts many CSI3* and CSI2* shows every year. Such a decision could certainly help the event financially, possibly allowing it to run behind closed doors or in front of a much smaller number of spectators. 

In Switzerland, the organisers of Longines CSI Basel – scheduled for 7 to 10 January – remain cautious. “At the moment it is difficult to predict anything because the situation in Switzerland is not very positive. We might find out a little more next week,” explained Andy Kistler – president of the event and former Swiss team manager – to GrandPrix. 

In Germany, Volker Wulff – director of Partner Pferd in Leipzig – told German media outlet Sport Im MDR that if spectators are not allowed, the event will not be able to take place.

As to the final qualifying leg in the Western European League, Jumping International Bordeaux’s event director Sabine Zaegel gave an update this afternoon – stating that the organisers hope to be able to give more details on the format of the 2021-edition at the beginning of November. 

 

No reproduction without permission, copyright © GrandPrix & World of Showjumping 

 

 



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