The International Equestrian Federation (FEI) has announced that this year’s Jumping Nations Cup Final in Barcelona has been canceled. The competition was due to take place at the Real Club de Polo de Barcelona (RCPB) between October 2 and 4 but the event is the latest to fall victim to the coronavirus pandemic.
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Local organizers the Real Federation Hospice Española decided to cancel, alongside the FEI. Rule changes had already been announced for the event in April when the COVID-19 outbreak forced the cancellation of qualification series competitions.
This would have seen 22 countries from around the world invited to compete instead of having to qualify. The decision to cancel comes after a spike in COVID-19 infections in Spain. Last month, the Catalan Government in Barcelona again asked the public to stay home if possible as cases rose.
“We have looked at every scenario, including potentially running the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup Final behind closed doors without spectators, but the combination of the situation in Catalonia and the ongoing international travel restrictions has meant that we have unfortunately been forced to jointly agree that regrettably, this year’s Final cannot go ahead in Barcelona, the risks are simply too great,” said FEI President Ingmar De Voss.
When we announced changes to the rules for the Final back in April, we were cautiously optimistic that even if the series fell victim to the pandemic, we would be able to save the Final in Barcelona, but sadly that has proved impossible. Of course, this is devastating news for everyone involved, not least the athletes that were hoping to compete at the Final, to our hosts in Barcelona and of course to our top partner Longines, but health and safety have to be our top priorities.
While we are all very disappointed now, we very much look forward to returning to Barcelona for the Final in 2021. It has also been confirmed that there will be no promotion and relegation between the Nations Cups leagues this year.
This means the same 10 countries will contest the top-tier Division One in the 2021 season Belgium, France, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, Italy, The Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland, and Sweden. Barcelona has been a regular host of the Final, with Ireland winning last year to book their place at the Tokyo Olympics.
“This difficult decision is very disappointing for our club and our members and everyone involved,” RCPB Foundation President Emilio Zegrí said.
The Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup Final is an annual highlight for us, the city of Barcelona and all the national and international spectators who fill the stands year after year, but we needed to take this decision now, knowing that a last-minute cancellation would have meant significant costs for the National Federations have made travel plans for their athletes and horses. However, we want to transmit a positive message of hope. We will redouble our efforts so that the 2021 Final can be celebrated as an outstanding edition.
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