FEI Reviewing Top Rated CDI5* Entry Requirements Because of Coronavirus But Not in Time for Wellington & Doha Events

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Katherine Bateson-Chandler on Alcazar winning the 2020 Global Dressage Festival CDI5* Grand Prix Freestyle. © 2020 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Feb. 13, 2021

The International Equestrian Federation is reviewing qualification requirements for top rated CDI5* competitions but possible changes are too late for the first two events of the year–at Wellington, Florida and Doha, Qatar in less than two weeks.

The current requirement of a minimum of two Big Tour results of 64% from events from the year (2020) before the competition “is currently being reviewed,” an FEI spokesperson told dressage-news.com. Covid-19 has caused havoc on the international equestrian calendar since the outbreak of the pandemic more than a year ago.

Both CDI5* events at the Global Dressage Festival in Wellington and at Al Shaqab in Doha are scheduled for the week of Feb. 24.

Deadline for entries for the Wellington CDI5* with $154,000/€127,000 in prize money is Feb. 18 while for Doha with prize money of €150,000/US$182,000 entries closed Jan. 30. Horses for Doha are flown from Europe.

A decision by the FEI is expected, however, ahead of the first European CDI5* events, at Munich, Germany and Compiègne, France in May.

The continuing spate of show cancellations is also likely to prevent a return to meaningful world rankings prior to the Olympics in Tokyo at the end of July.

The FEI reiterated the policy announced April 1 last year that essentially froze ranking points earned in the previous 12 months.

As the pandemic heads into its second year, the result has led to unintended consequences.

Isabell Werth and Bella Rose, world No. 1 at the time, and Dorothee Schneider, at No. 4, remain in those places although neither horse has been competed since the European Championships in August 2019. Similarly, Daniel Bachmann Andersen and Blue Hors Zack have stayed in 10th place, although he stopped competing Zack in late 2019 and the ride has been taken over by Nanna Merrald. She succeeded Daniel as a Blue Hors rider.

“The system provides a level playing field for all our athletes as ranking points can still be earned in countries where the sport is able to continue, regardless of the length of time the current situation lasts, but athletes in countries where the sport is on hold will not lose points,” a FEI spokesperson said. “An athlete’s ranking points can only improve, not decrease during this period, as the relevant number of best results in each discipline still applies.”

Twelve months after the competition calendar returns to normal globally the timeframe during which ranking points remain valid will be decreased by one month with each new ranking until the standard 12-month rolling timeframe has been reached, the spokesperson said.