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The end of an era: the WEG pronounced dead

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The FEI World Equestrian Games (WEG), held every four years in the middle of the Olympic cycle, combines eight World Championships at one event.

The FEI disciplines – Jumping, Dressage and Para-Equestrian Dressage, Eventing, Driving, Endurance, Vaulting and Reining – are all included on the competition schedule.

The inaugural FEI World Equestrian Games were hosted in Stockholm (Sweden) in 1990. Since then the Games have been staged in The Hague (Netherlands) in 1994, Rome (Italy) in 1998, Jerez (Spain) in 2002, and Aachen (Germany) in 2006. The first Games to be organised outside Europe were the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Lexington, Kentucky (USA) 2010. The Games came back to Europe for the 2014 edition, the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Normandy (France).

The FEI World Equestrian Games 2018 were held at the Tryon International Equestrian Center in North Carolina (USA) from 10 to 23 September 2018.

This last edition of WEG was marked by outrageous and scandalous cancellation of Endurance competition after false start which happened through the fault of the organizers.

Photo Facebook

Tryon became synonymous with great shame and monstrous incompetence of the FEI.

Read our report about fiasco in Tryon: http://fair-endurance.com/weg-for-worst-equestrian-games/

Endurance was scheduled to open competition at the World Equestrian Games in Tryon, but in the early morning darkness on 12 September, some teams were unfortunately misdirected at the start of the ride. As a result, the ride was stopped at the first vet gate and re-started as a 120-kilometre championship. The FEI immediately announced that the circumstances surrounding the false start would be investigated by the Equestrian Community Integrity Unit (ECIU) and the findings made public. Unfortunately, weather conditions deteriorated later in the day and, with a potentially dangerously high combination of heat and humidity, and difficult conditions out on the trail following heavy rain that afternoon, the officials unanimously decided to cancel the remainder of the competition. The decision to cancel the ride was taken in line with the FEI Code of Conduct for the Welfare of the Horse, which do not allow competition to take place in extreme weather conditions that may compromise the welfare or safety of the horse.

– FEI Press Release

Two months later, the future of the World Equestrian Games was the subject of a discussion at the FEI General Assembly in Manama (Bahrain).

The FEI Secretary General Sabrina Ibáñez talked through the plan to open up the bidding process for individual world championships in all disciplines for 2022, but with preference being given to multi-discipline bids.

“This does not necessarily mean the end of the FEI World Equestrian Games and bids to host all-discipline Games will still be considered.”

– Sabrina Ibáñez, the FEI Secretary General

Photo FEI

The FEI Board unanimously approved the opening of a bidding process for individual world championships in all disciplines for 2022, with preference being given to multi-discipline bids.

“Equestrian sport has become increasingly globalised, but there are relatively few countries that have the capacity to host world championships in all disciplines simultaneously.”

– Ingmar De Vos, the FEI President

“The new bid process allows for the sustainable and cost-effective use of existing equestrian sports facilities and for the FEI to partner with National Federations that may have hesitated putting forward multi-discipline bids in the past. The door is now open for these Federations to consider submitting an expression of interest for an individual world championship in the discipline of their choice.”

– Ingmar De Vos, the FEI President

Photo FEI

On 26 March 2019, an interactive workshop was held in Lausanne for all National Federations/Organising Committees that submit an expression of interest in the 2022 World Championships.

A total of 20 countries on four different continents – Europe, North and South America and Asia – have submitted expressions of interest to host the FEI World Championships 2022, with representatives from over 30 different venues attending a workshop for potential host cities in Lausanne (SUI).

“Our sport has grown so much that an all-discipline FEI World Equestrian Games has become too big for many venues to host. By opening up the bidding process for 2022 to single and multi-discipline bids, and not excluding a full Games, we believe that we have created a more enticing formula and the high level of expressions of interest suggests that we are on the right track.”

– Ingmar De Vos, the FEI President

On 20 June 2019, the FEI published a press release “Countries line up to host FEI World Championships in 2022” that can be found here: https://inside.fei.org/content/countries-line-host-fei-world-championships-2022

The FEI received two bids to host the full Games!

There was a chance (actually, two chances!) to save the heritage of the World Equestrian Games.

But the FEI decided to destroy the WEG 2022 and rejected both all-discipline bids!

As you already know, at the General Assembly in Moscow, the FEI allocated the individual Championships for each discipline, except for Endurance and Reining.

Read our report about allocations of World Championships 2022: http://fair-endurance.com/tricky-game-on-the-allocation-of-the-world-endurance-championship-2022/

So, it looks like, perhaps, there will be no more WEGs in the future.

Rest in peace, the World Equestrian Games!

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