FEI President Ingmar De Vos and FEI Secretary General Sabrina Ibáñez at the FEI Board meeting during the 2019 FEI General Assembly in Moscou (RUS). This year's General Assembly, scheduled for South Africa, has been moved online due to COVID-19. • Photo by Liz Gregg courtesy of the FEI.

FEI General Assembly Moves Online Due to COVID-19

The Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) General Assembly 2020, which was due to be held in November in Johannesburg, South Africa, has been cancelled 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 General Assembly to Johannesburg.

The FEI is the sole controlling authority for all international events in the Olympic sports of jumping, dressage and eventing, as well as driving, endurance, vaulting and reining.

“The safety of our community is our highest priority and although it is regrettable, cancelling our in-person General Assembly this year and going online was the responsible thing to do,” FEI President Ingmar De Vos said in a statement.

“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,” De Vos continued. “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.”

Force Majeure

With the pandemic legally defined as “force majeure” in Switzerland, the country’s 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 meeting 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

FEI General Assembly

The General Assembly is a platform for discussions and voting on the major decisions of the FEI and the governance of the sport. It is held in a different location every year.

It governs the overall direction, development and management of the FEI’s disciplines worldwide. Elections are held at the General Assembly and decisions are taken, by vote, on changes to its statutes, long-term strategies, budgets and important equestrian matters.