“Very Disappointed” FEI to Meet With Bromont World Games Organizers, Equine Canada on Event”s Future

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Sabrina Ibáñez, the FEI Secretary Geeral
Sabrina Ibáñez, the FEI Secretary Geeral

LAUSANNE, Switzerland, July 16, 2016–The International Equestrian Federation (FEI) “as a matter of priority” will meet with the Canadian organizers of the World Games and Equine Canada to determine the status of the showcase of international horse sports at Bromont in 2018.

FEI Secretary General Sabrina Ibáñez said the governing body of the seven international horse sports and para-equestrian had been informed of the decision by the Canadian government not to provide funding for the event held once every four years.

“Obviously this is very disappointing,” she said of the decision not to support the event that was scheduled for two years from now at the site of equestrian events at the 1976 Montreal Olympic Games.

“As the international governing body, the FEI has a responsibility to ask the right questions and protect the future of our flagship events so, as a matter of priority, we will be meeting with the COJEM Board and the National Federation, Equestrian Canada, to get a full picture of the situation and to look at next steps,” Sabrina said.

The bid by Canada to host the world championships of dressage, driving, endurance, eventing, jumping, reining and vaulting as well as para-equestrian never gained traction. A revolving door for the chief executive’s office and resignation of several board members frustrated with lack of money and direction have plagued the effort.

Bromont was the last remaining contender for the 2018 Games but their bid was rejected initially because the organizing committee was was unable to provide the full “public sector financial support”–taxpayer money–the FEI required, according to an announcement at the time.

Confirmation that the Canadian bid committee subsequently secured substantial government backing, the FEI said, was a crucial element in the decision to award the WEG to Bromont in a second round of bidding.

Questions have been raised about the so-called guarantees of “substantial government backing” as the Ottawa administration has since said it did not provide any undertakings and there was no record of being approached at the time.

With an organizer of the WEG in its current format facing costs of tens of millions of dollars to stage the event that was inaugurated in 1990, the FEI is looking at other options beyond 2018.

Meantime, a significant issue is that Longines is the title sponsor of WEG under a 10-year sponsorship agreement with the FEI while some venues capable of hosting the championships are tied to Rolex.

Among them are Aachen, Germany that hosted the Games in 2006, Lexington, Kentucky in 2010 and the newly created Tryon International Equestrian Center in North Carolina as well as the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington, Florida. Tryon and Wellington are under the same management.