On March 30, the Fédération Equestre Internationale published the Return To Competition measures that will allow for a safe resumption of international sport in mainland Europe on April 12 following a six-week shutdown to control the spread of the neurological form of the Equine Herpesvirus (EHV-1).
The measures focus on six key areas: pre-event venue preparations by organizers; athlete pre-event preparations; examination on arrival; on-site at event venue; departure from events; and jurisdiction.
The measures, which were comprehensively reviewed at a stakeholder consultation session last week and fine-tuned by both the FEI Veterinary Epidemiology Working Group and the FEI Veterinary Committee, have now been approved by the FEI Board.
Stakeholders who joined last week’s two-hour online consultation session included athlete representatives Pedro Veniss (jumping) and Beatriz Ferrer Salat (dressage), Eleonora Ottaviani (International Jumping Riders Club), Klaus Roeser (International Dressage Riders Club), Peter Bollen (Equestrian Organizers), Dominique Megret (Jumping Owners Club), Quentin Simonet and Ulf Helgstrand (European Equestrian Federation), together with international grooms Heidi Mulari (Steve Guerdat) and Kirsty Pascoe (Jérôme Guery), and FEI Events Stable Manager Patrick Borg.
The measures include a series of temporary provisions, which will remain in place until May 30, providing a science-based safety margin to allow for monitoring of any further related outbreaks. This date can be extended if required and advance notice will be provided to the community. These temporary provisions will be formalized in legally binding Bylaws which will be published during the week commencing April 5.
The FEI Veterinary Epidemiology Working Group has agreed that there is currently no evidence indicating that it would be unsafe to return to international competition in mainland Europe as planned on April 12, provided the mandated enhanced preventive measures are implemented and there are no further linked outbreaks. The working group will continue to monitor the evolution of the European outbreak on a daily basis.
The FEI HorseApp will be updated with new modules which will allow for enhanced traceability as part of the EHV-1 Return To Competition measures. These will be launched in the second week of April.
The Return To Competition measures, which clearly outline roles and responsibilities, are available online and for download in the dedicated EHV-1 hub. Additional documentation will be added in the coming days.