May 1, 2014 (ISN) – A total of 11 cities spanning Asia, North America and Europe are vying to host major equestrian events over the next four years, the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) has confirmed.
Leading the way are the two candidates for the 2018 World Equestrian Games, Bromont and Montreal in Canada and Lexington in Kentucky, which have been confirmed after signing host city agreements last month.
Wellington in Florida had been considered a third contender only to withdraw shortly before the deadline.
After each being inspected by the FEI Evaluation Commission the remaining duo will present their final bids to the FEI Bureau in Lausanne on June 9, with the host city chosen the following day.
In the more immediate future meanwhile, Barcelona in Spain and Old Salem Farm in North Salem, New York are the two contenders for the FEI Nations Cup Final in 2015.
The Catalan city staged the inaugural Cup, the final for the global team jumping series, in 2013 and will do so again this year and is now bidding to host the competition for what would be a third successive year.
Omaha in Nebraska is attempting to stage both the Longines FEI World Cup Jumping and FEI World Cup Dressage Finals in 2017, with the challenge for the jumping event coming from Hong Kong and for the dressage event from ‘s-Hertogenbosch in the Netherlands.
The events can either be held separately or side by side in one city.
But London’s O2 Arena, which had been muted as a challenger for each event, will no longer bid.
This is due to planned construction on the site of the proposed British venue, London’s O2 Arena, although FEI secretary-general Ingmar De Vos confirmed they are looking forward to seeing London challenging for both events again in the future.
Finally, on a continental level, four nations are in contention for various FEI European Championships events in 2017.
The Swedish city of Gothenburg is bidding to host the four disciplines of jumping, dressage, Para dressage and driving, while Dutch city Rotterdam is bidding for only the jumping discipline.
Fontainebleau in France and Strzegom in Poland are both aiming to host the 2017 European Eventing Championships, which have taken place biannually since 1953.
In 2009, Fontainebleau became the third French venue to host the Championships, while the event has never been held in Poland.
“To have 11 cities on three continents bidding to host major FEI events over the next four years demonstrates the importance of equestrian sport and its significance for organisers and sponsors, who have the potential to reach millions of spectators and viewers around the world,” said De Vos.
“The successful host cities for our Championships and Finals in 2015 and 2017, and our flagship FEI World Equestrian Games in 2018, will be given the green light following the FEI Bureau in-person meeting on June 9 to 10.”
The announcements also come at an exciting time for the FEI ahead of the 2014 World Equestrian Games in Normandy from August 23 to September 7, and two days after FEI President Princess Haya announced she will stand for a third term at the helm of the sport after members voted overwhelmingly to change its statutes to allow her to run.