The organisers in their announcement say that they “want the World Show in December to be remembered as 'The World Reunion', the event where dog lovers can reunite around their passion” In a joint statement issued by the FCI, the Spanish Kennel Club (Royal Sociedad Canina de Espana) and the venue IFEMA they said, ‘Following an agreement between IFEMA and the Real Sociedad Canina de España, RSCE, later approved by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale, FCI, and the support of the main sponsor ARION, it was decided to postpone the FCI World Dog Show 2020, initially scheduled to take place from 23rd until 26th April, 2020 (first postponed to 9-12th July, 2020) to 17th-20th December, 2020 (Thursday to Sunday).
The FCI World Dog Show will take place in the Feria of Madrid. ‘The decision was taken based on the instructions from the health authorities, taking into consideration the development of the Covid-19 in Spain and in the rest of the world and with the aim of guaranteeing the participation of foreign people in a worldwide event with specific characteristics.’ In its own statement the RSCE said that it wants the show to be seen as a grand ‘reunion’. They said, ‘we want the World Dog Show 2020 to be remembered as "The Reunion", the event in which we can finally meet again around our passion: the purebred dogs.’
The RSCE has promised that it will communicate all the changes caused by the new dates that may affect the programme of the event including judges, registrations and cancellations as soon as possible.
Dr Tamas Jakkel, President of the FCI, said in a statement, ‘This week would have originally been the one where many of us would have participated in the FCI World Dog Show 2020, which had to be postponed originally to July because of the world pandemic of COVID-19 virus. ‘We hope to welcome as many of you to the FCI World Dog Show 2020 in Madrid, in a special atmosphere before Christmas celebrating our strength, life, passion, and profession.’ At the moment in Spain all shows have been postponed indefinitely by the RSCE whilst the current lockdown measures remain in force in the country.
It is not known when they will be able to resume showing dogs in the country as Spain is currently the second hardest hit country in Europe, after Italy, by the coronavirus pandemic. Whereas many exhibitors on social media were delighted with the announcement, others showed more concern as to whether the new date was realistic.
As our worldwide round up revealed last week dog shows across the continent have been cancelled and Germany recently banned mass gatherings until August 31. With all governments around the world likely to be tentative as they come out of lockdown for fear of a second spike of infections it seems very unlikely that dog showing across the world will return to anything like normal soon.
There were calls for the show to be carried over until next year with one contributor saying, ‘I think that in the face of the current situation, worldwide, and with so many exhibitions that have already been cancelled and those that remain to be cancelled, it would be logical and fair for all that this world exhibition of 2020 will be carried over to next year, with so that all the participants had the possibility of obtaining the world championship. It would be fair and logical.’ Another poster on social media wrote, ‘A week before Christmas, too much of a recipe for failure with all that's going on.
I am surprised the organisers are even considering it this year. Why would anyone want to travel to Madrid for the sake of a card and bragging rights?’ Whilst a more optimistic poster wrote, ‘…its only spring so there's plenty of time for the world to get back to normal.’ The FCI and the Spanish Kennel Club clearly faced a dilemma. The IFEMA complex is also currently an emergency hospital, just like the NEC in Birmingham, UK, the venue for Crufts each year. Also, with a world show already planned in Brno, Czech, in 2021 it is hard to see the FCI hosting two world shows in one year.
Asking hosts to move their shows on another year also creates contractual issues between the host kennel club and venues in their own countries and also issues with appointed judges, especially with world shows planned up until 2024 in different countries. Whether international travel (and with dogs) would be possible in December this year is also up for debate right now. Perhaps it is more a case of wait and see rather than Manyana!
Full statement below: