“I am thankful for the co-operation during these difficult times” - FIM Europe President Martin de Graaff
2020 has been a special year for everyone. In the CONU Presidents’ update series, the leaders of the FIM’s Continental Unions describe the main challenges they faced during the COVID-19 pandemic and what people could learn from these extraordinary times.
- The situation caused by Covid-19 has varied a lot between all the European countries, says FIM Europe President Martin de Graaff.
“Overall, we have had lots of problems and events cancelled in Europe but at the moment I am happy that our promoters Dorna and Infront are resuming the European Championships and we have been able to continue with part of our activities.”
FIM Europe moved to its new headquarters in Rome, Italy, just a few months before the pandemic so the administration didn´t have a chance to spend too much time at the new office before they were sent home.
“People worked at home very well. Many took advantage of the special times and worked on some projects that they didn´t have time to work on earlier. As of 1 August, the FIM Europe staff came back to work part time from the office so that not everyone would be on site at the same time. The government of Italy is very strict when it comes to regulations on the workplace. For example, the ventilation system had to be changed to be more powerful before people returned to the office, in keeping with the measures linked to the pandemic.”
Mr De Graaff travelled to some events by car this autumn and expressed satisfaction as regards the evolution of the sanitary measures.
“The events I attended were organized very well, with limited number of attendants. Some events had separate ways to enter and exit, separate caterings, and other social distancing measures, which made them safe safe. We expect that next year, social distancing and sanitary measures will also enable bigger events with more spectators to take place.”
Martin De Graaff highlights the importance of the co-operation with all the parties especially during these extraordinary times.
“We are very happy with our promoters Infront in Motocross and Dorna, Repsol and North Talent Cup in Circuit Racing. We are also cooperating with Yamaha´s Blue R3 bLU cRU programme to have a few rounds in Superbike next year. Enduro and Trial events had to be cancelled this year unfortunately, but hopefully we will be able to move on with them in a normal way next year.”
Also the federations have shown that they were able to adapt to the constantly changing situation.
“COVID-19 created a lot of problems and made the year very difficult but the activities are being resumed and we are confident for the future. In Europe, the expectation is to have a vaccine by the end of the year, but a few months more will be necessary until we can get back to normality. If that happens, it would make the future look promising and enable us to go on with our events. We can´t afford to have a second year like this one, as it would have too big an impact on our federations and event organizers. However, I must say that we are very happy with the co-operation with the federations. What they have been able to do this year is amazing!”
Mr De Graaff also thinks that there is something that people can learn from this special year.
“We can learn not to plan too much ahead. Of course we need to plan things but we have to be also ready to adapt and move on accordingly. I am happy that our staff is motivated now and together we will do our best to make the next year as good as possible. I think we all miss the real contact with our volunteers so we are really looking forward to get back to normality”.