Posted on 20th April 2020

CEO update 20/04/20

Update from Jude Matthews, British Eventing CEO


Firstly, I hope that you and your families are keeping well.  

I thought it may be a good time to update you on the work we are doing for sport recommencement. The announcement last Thursday of a period of at least another three weeks of restrictions was inevitable, but it also puts an increased focus on the work we can do to ensure an appropriate sport recommencement. 

There remains a huge number of unknowns which means that any plans will have to remain fluid, and we will need all stakeholders to work together to get eventing back up and running. 

Sport resumption strategies 

We are working on a number of strategies for recommencement. Much will depend on both the timing and the way that the government lifts restrictions. 

 However, we are currently working on the following: 

  • Hybrid competition formats – such as arena eventing or combined training, to bridge the gap between relaxing of restrictions and full rider and horse fitness for normal eventing. We know that our different segments of member will have differing needs and we will continue to discuss proposals with all stakeholders as we get closer to a restart. 
  • Social distancing – what measures can we take to limit close social contact on event. We are planning on the basis that some level of social distancing will be required for some time. It is also likely that many people will feel safer to compete again knowing we are putting these measures in place. 
  • Restrictions on mass gatherings – what would a restriction in numbers mean to how we can operate? 

We know that there will be a number of key considerations, not only restrictions.   

For example,  

  • Will we be able to procure appropriate medical cover?   
  • Will our volunteer base be comfortable and willing to take up their roles again? We have to consider that they may not want to volunteer until the situation stabilises.  
  • Will the contractors used to support events still be in business and able to supply the services we need? 
  • Are there rules that we will need to review in order to enable us to resume sport but maintain our high standards and resume sport again?  

We also do not know what demand for competition will be when we can recommence, but we are carefully listening to member feedback. Unfortunately, it is inevitable that some of you may not be in a position to compete in the way you would have planned prior to COVID-19, but we know that there are others who are desperate to get going again. We are therefore looking at our fixtures list to ensure it can meet a potentially changing level and type of demand. 

We know that many of you are keen to understand what the plans are for BE Championships and we know how important these are to all our members. We are working on plans for each of our Championships, this too takes time and involves input from organisers and sponsors. We will update you as soon as we have any more information. 

All of the above requires significant work to develop, and BE will continue to work with all its stakeholders over the coming weeks. Working through these scenarios also provides us the opportunity to really look at how sport is delivered, and ways that we can make what we do more efficient and cost effective. We have committed to you that we will look at ways we can reward the loyalty of those who have retained membership with us during the period of no sport, which will also form part of the work to be done when we know when sport can recommence. 

We do not know what the future looks like, but we will come out of this, and the sport will thrive again. 

Take care.