The following communication was released FEI Medical Chair Dr. Mark Hart on August 7.
On behalf of the FEI, I want to share and express our commitment to the resumption of sporting activity and the resurgence of equestrian events worldwide.
The FEI Board, Technical Committees, Calendar Task Forces and the Headquarters staff are working around the clock to make this happen. We are fully committed to a safe and sustainable return to competition.
When the FEI Policy for Enhanced Competition Safety during the COVID-19 Pandemic was developed, it was crafted with the goal of providing a safe environment for all participants. We believe science supports its effectiveness to reduce the transmission and spread of Covid-19 when applied both consistently and in a strict manner.
To be successful we require active participation and full compliance by all.
There is no middle ground and there are no grey areas. As a community, we cannot just apply what we want and ignore what is seen as an inconvenience. In no uncertain terms, we absolutely require the consistent application of all guidelines and recommendations regarding the wearing of face masks, appropriate social distancing and regular and thorough hand sanitizing for a successful return to our sport.
This is not just the responsibility of competition Organizers, it applies to every individual attending our events. Athletes, their extended support teams, volunteers, vendors, and fans must all be held to the same level of accountability.
We understand the frustration caused by this worldwide pandemic. We have all faced the intrusion on our daily lives, our jobs, our finances and what many of us perceive as our freedoms. Like an unwelcome guest at a party, this is a situation we have no choice but to confront head on. We must be bigger, smarter and united in our response.
Now we have all been called upon to play a greater role in society than we have been accustomed to. We must now make some sacrifices and adapt our habits for the benefit of the greater good. This pandemic demands these changes as it will be with us until an effective vaccine is developed and distributed around the world.
Our social responsibility far outweighs our professional and sporting goals – but they are not incompatible. We can reach these goals and ensure the safety of others, but it will require some modifications to our behaviour. If we want competitions to resume, then we need to show that we as a community are responsible and can be counted on.
We have outlined what needs to be done through a thoughtfully developed and public health based policy; and now we need you. We need everyone to apply these guidelines as they will only be effective if they are followed by all.
We all love this sport. Let’s work together and give our sport and the amazing animals that inspire us a platform on which to shine in these difficult times.
In a show of global citizenship, we call on you to unite in the fight against COVID-19. Through socially responsible actions, we have the opportunity to fully return to sporting greatness.
Play Safe and make us proud! Our collective future depends on all of our actions today.
You will find all the latest information on the Return to Play hub on Inside.FEI.org.
Dr. Mark Hart
Chair, FEI Medical Committee