Minutes of the EFSM Zoom Meeting, May 11th, 2020, 19:00

The meeting on May 11th was dedicated mainly to the postponed EFSM Congress in Cluj, which was initially scheduled for last April/May. As you already know, after the beginning of this pandemic, the congress was postponed for October 27-30.

As you probably have already seen on the congress website, the program was very complex and of high quality. We expected to have about 700 participants from all over the world attending the meeting. The estimated budget of the congress was of about 200.000 Euros. All those which decided to publish in the EFSM Special Issue of Injury (41 contributions), already enjoyed the publication of their papers. Also, those which sent chapters for the Instructional Course Book should know that the book is ready and will appear with the occasion of the new scheduled congress.

Unfortunately, some of the participants already registered (about 21 until now) decided to ask the return of their registration and accommodation fees. Seeing what happened with other postponed congresses (EURAPS, FESSH, ... .), which asked to the registrants to keep their registration fees, I think will be better to ask the same to our participants. If not, will be a problem with the PCO because they already spent part of that money for organization, and so they will have to pay from their own resources.

As we discussed in our meeting, there are four possible scenarios regarding the reschedule of the congress:

I. 1. To not organize the congress anymore, what will generate a financial disaster

II. At the moment, the official date of the event is October 27 - 30, 2020. Both in Romania and worldwide, any meetings involving the participation of a large number of people are currently prohibited, as well as the international travel, but we do not know if these restrictions will be maintained until the autumn.

During this week, the Romanian authorities approved an ordinance stipulating some legal aspects of the activity carried out by event organizers, as follows: participants who paid registration fees for an event that was canceled due to the Coronavirus pandemic, can use these fees in order to register on the rescheduled date of the event, that cannot exceed the deadline of September 30th, 2021.

The organization in October 2020 of the EFSM congress would be useful to decrease the financial losses resulting from the interruption of the organizing activity, as well as a financial optimization of the expenses already generated until the beginning of March 2020, expenses amounting to 36.354 euros. This cost could be easily reallocated for October. However, an unfavorable evolution of the epidemiological situation both at European and global level, would lead to the impossibility of organizing the congress. As there is no certainty at this time, it would be preferable to officially maintain the October date and, if the evolution is not favorable, to announce - the latest at the end of July - a second rescheduling of the event in April 2021.

III. The organization of the congress in April 2021 represents the second best option of financial optimization, since it would not involve a substantial change of the scientific program, the amounts paid to suppliers this year could be reallocated for the following year, and the amounts collected from both participants and sponsors could be withheld according to the regulations in force.
In addition, for 2021, the epidemiological evolution is expected to be a favorable one.
Some of you considered that, because the WSRM Congress will take place also next year, will be better to have not our Congress in 2021. I really do not think that this is a problem. Maybe we will have less participants, but I am sure it will be enough people to attend the congress and to have a high-quality congress.

IV. The third option would be to organize the EFSM congress in 2022. However, this is not a good option if we consider the financial aspects. Withholding fees and sponsorships until this date would not be possible, since the deadline of 30 September 2021 imposed by the Romanian authorities would be exceeded, which would mean that the PCO would have to return all the amounts collected.
In this scenario in which all the amounts collected would be returned, there would be no more funds to recover the expenses incurred by the PCO (36.354 euros) nor the VAT refunded by reimbursement of the participation fees (10.423 euros). The reimbursement of the VAT by the Romanian authorities is a very long process that can exceed one year). The potential loss would amount to 47.000 euros and would be impossible to recover.

It was decided in our meeting to postpone the final decision until June 8, when we will have another zoom meeting.