Madrid Cancels World Cup Qualifier, 1st in Western Europe

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Germany’s Dorothee Schneider, shown here, won the 2019 Madrid World Cup event.

May 22, 2020

The Madrid World Cup, one of 11 Western European qualifiers for the final in Gothenburg, Sweden has been canceled because of Covid19, the organizers announced Friday, five months before the event was to be staged.

Cancellation of the Madrid World Cup for both dressage and jumping was the first in western Europe of the annual championship series though qualifiers for the 2021 final in April have already been canceled in the three other leagues, North America, Central Europe and Pacific. Of the 11 events scheduled for North America, three have already been canceled–Del Mar, California; Saugerties, New York, and Devon, Pennsylvania.

“Due to the world crisis that we are living,” the organizers said in a statement, “we face one of the hardest challenges in history. Beyond the impact on the lives of millions of people around the world, the COVID-19 pandemic has also dealt a severe setback to the evolution of the global economy and, like most sectors, sport and entertainment events, have been some of the most affected.

“Despite the effort of the Organizing Committee of IFEMA Madrid Horse Week and that the institutions and federations have articulated different measures to alleviate the impact of this crisis in our sector, there are many other uncertainties regarding the organization of massive events that has forced the sad decision to cancel IFEMA Madrid Horse Week in this 2020 edition, something exceptional since it became the venue for the World Cup in 2014.”

The 2020 Final in Las Vegas that was to be staged in mid-April was canceled.

Unconfirmed reports have circulated widely in Europe in recent weeks that Covid-19 pandemic requirements, particularly, social distancing was raising concerns about the championship series based on the Grand Prix Freestyle because the western European events are indoors and depend on paying spectators and vendor fees to cover costs. 

Under the rules, the Western European League gets to send at least half of the lineup of 18 finalists, with two each from North America and Central Europe, one from the Pacific, the defending titleholder and three others.

Isabell Werth of Germany is the defending champion, having won the title in 2017, 2018 and 2019 and was looking to try for an unprecedented fourth straight victory on Weihegold OLD at Las Vegas.