The 2020 FEI General Assembly, which was due to be held in Johannesburg, South Africa, in November, has been canceled and will now be held online due to COVID-19 social distancing requirements and travel restrictions.
The decision was approved by the FEI board during its three-day videoconference meeting this week, and the board also gave its unanimous support to allocate next year’s FEI General Assembly to Johannesburg.
“The safety of our community is our highest priority and although it is regrettable, canceling our in-person General Assembly this year and going online was the responsible thing to do,” FEI President Ingmar De Vos said. “We are very grateful to the National Federation of South Africa for the support and flexibility they have shown, as well as their willingness to host our General Assembly next year when the situation will hopefully have improved for everyone.
“We are lucky to live in a time where it is possible to meet virtually, even though face-to-face meetings and discussions keep us together as a community.”
With the pandemic legally defined as “force majeure” in Switzerland, the country’s federal government has adopted ad hoc temporary measures to facilitate the organization of General Assembly meetings for Swiss-based associations like the FEI.
Under these special regulations, the FEI is permitted to hold its General Assembly electronically. Other large international gatherings, including next month’s IOC session, will also be held online.
The FEI is currently considering a number of electronic solutions for running the General Assembly online and will communicate these to national federations in due course
“While we are of course disappointed not to be able to hold the FEI General Assembly in South Africa this year, we appreciate the confidence that the FEI has shown to us by giving us the opportunity to host the General Assembly next year,” President of the National Federation of South Africa Adv Willem Edeling SC said. “It will be the first time that an international equestrian gathering of this scale will be held in South Africa, and we look forward to welcoming delegates from around the world to our world class meeting facilities. 2021 is the centenary of the FEI, and we feel privileged that our event will form part of the 100-year celebrations.”