Could Britain host the 2018 World Equestrian Games (WEG) on home soil? After a fluctuating bidding process, the British Equestrian Federation (BEF) has submitted an “expression of interest” to the FEI, but has no particular venue in mind at this stage.
In June 2012, 5 countries — Morocco, USA, Hungary, Austria and Canada — came forward as official candidates for the 8th WEG. But one by one they dropped away, and bidding was reopened in July.
Canada (at the 1976 Olympic site of Bromont) returned to the fray, with the USA — which has its original proposed site at Wellington, as well as 2010 WEG site Kentucky — and somewhere in Britain.
A BEF spokesman confirmed that “an expression of interest has been lodged with the FEI”, but added this carries “no liability in terms of whether a formal bid is submitted next year”. She would not speculate on potential venues, budgets or funding streams.
The BEF has to confirm its proposed host city by 15 November, to be reviewed by the FEI before the candidates are announced on 2 December. WEG requires large-scale facilities to host the 8 FEI disciplines and most leading British events are held at green-field sites, making options limited.
WEG typically makes a financial loss, which was the chief reason many of the original bidders pulled out. The BEF confirmed that a “formal bid may depend on agreeing changes to the WEG format [with the FEI] to reduce the cost of hosting”.