Defending champions Ireland will be one of 10 European teams to feature at a new-look Nations Cup Final in Barcelona, which is scheduled to take place in October. 

With the global sporting calendar decimated by the Covid-19 pandemic, the FEI has made drastic rule changes in a bid to maintain the series final.

Under amendments proposed and approved during a FEI teleconference this week, a total of 22 nations will be invited to compete at the Longines-sponsored final at the Barcelona Polo Club.

The 22 teams will be made up of 10 nations from Europe, three from North America, two from South America, two from the Middle East, two from Asia/Australasia, one apiece from Africa and Eurasia, plus the host nation Spain.

The rules revision means that all 10 teams in Europe Division 1, including champions Ireland, are guaranteed a place in the event if the competition goes ahead.

Normally only the top seven teams from Europe Division 1 qualify for the annual final, with additional qualifiers for non-European teams held throughout the globe.

The three teams from North America will also qualify directly for the final, while the UAE and Syria, who claimed the two top spots at the Middle East qualifier in Abu Dhabi earlier this year, will retain their places for the final.

The qualification system for the other divisions will be based on the Longines rankings, using the combined points of each national federations' four best competitors published one month prior to the event.

"The global pandemic has meant that sadly we have had a number of cancellations in the series, and even though we still don’t know what events will take place later in the season, we needed to provide clarity to all our stakeholders as soon as possible," FEI president Ingmar De Vos said.

"There is no certainty that teams would be able to travel to any of the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup events that are able to go ahead, and without a fair qualification system and the impossibility of being able to offer a level playing field where all teams have the same possibility to train and participate at events, this was a decision that had to be made."