USA & Great Britain Join Canada As Prospective Bidders to Host 2018 World Equestrian Games
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Great Britain and the United States have expressed interest along with Canada in bidding to host the 2018 World Equestrian Games, the competition showcase of seven horse sports and para dressage staged once every four years.
The International Equestrian Feeration (FEI) identified the two United States sites as Lexington, Kentucky which hosted the 2010 WEG and Wellington, Florida, home of the Winter Equestrian Festival and the Global Dressage Festival.
A prospective venue was not named for Great Britain, but the FEI said one would have to be designated by Nov. 15, the deadline for Bid Applicant Questionnaires.
Hickstead, which holds top jumper and dressage shows each year and was host of the 2003 European Championships, and Windsor that hosted the 2009 European Chamionships of dressage and jumping are considered possible sites.
Hickstead is and 15 miles (24km) south of Gatwick Airport, one of London’s major transport hubs, and eight miles (13km) north of the waterfront vacation city of Brighton with numerous hotels.
Canada remains the sole prospective host from the first round of bidding for the WEG.
Lexington is the home of Alltech, the title sponsor of both the 2010 Kentucky WEG and the Games in Normandy, France next year.
Several cities, including Wellington, dropped out of the first round of bidding, leaving Bromont as the only prospective host.
However, the FEI turned down the bid because, the Lausanne, Switzerland, based governing body said Bromont was “unable to provide the full public sector financial support.”
The bidding process was re-opened on July 1, 2013.
The FEI made it clear that any follow-up bid from Canada would be evaluated in the same way as other applicants.
Bid Applicant Questionnaires will be reviewed by the FEI Evaluation Commission before the host city candidates are announced on Dec. 2, 2013.
In the final stage of the bidding process, the candidate cities will formallyly present bids to the FEI Bureau at its spring 2014 meeting, after which the host city for WEG 2018 will be announced.
“The FEI World Equestrian Games is our flagship event, appealing to huge global audiences of equestrian enthusiasts and sports fans, and these expressions of interest by Great Britain and the USA alongside Canada are testament to the power of these Games,” FEI Secretary General Ingmar de Vos said.
“We are now looking forward to receiving the Bid Applicant Questionnaires next month, to naming the candidates in December and ultimately of course to announcing the host city for the FEI World Equestrian Games 2018 next year”.
The WEG are the world championships of dressage, driving, endurance, eventing, jumping, reining and vaulting as well as para-questrian dressage.
The Games have had a checkered history from the first event in Stockholm in 1990. The Hague in the Netherlands in 1994 was beset by major financial problems, Rome became the host in 1998 after Ireland dropped out when it lost its major sponsor and Jerez in Spain in 2002 incurred substantial public debt to build facilities.
Aachen, Germany, which stages the World Equestrian Festival as the globe’s most prestigious horse show, set the standard for success in 2006.
The Kentucky Horse Park was upgraded with world class facilities for the 2010 WEG in Lexington that saw top competition. But the organization was sharply criticized for, among other things, spending substantially over budget that impacted services during the Games and extremely high ticket prices and hotel rates.
Wellington dropped out of the first round because of “obstacles” created by the local government. The timing of a WEG is also an issue as South Florida’s hurricane season is from July into October.