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2021 European Championships cancelled: ‘The focus should be on Tokyo’

The 2021 FEI European Championships in the Olympic and Paralympic disciplines have been cancelled due to the clash with the new dates for the Tokyo Olympics (23 July-8 August 2021) and Paralympics (24 August-5 September 2021), which have been postponed a year due to Covid-19.

Budapest was to host the jumping, dressage, paradressage, driving and vaulting Europeans from 23 August to 5 September 2021, but now run only the non-Olympic disciplines of driving and vaulting, as part of the 50th anniversary celebrations of the first FEI European Driving Championships in the Hungarian capital in 1971.

The eventing European Championships were scheduled to take place from 11-15 August 2021 at Haras du Pin, France.

FEI secretary general Sabrina Ibáñez said: “Together with the organising committees of both Budapest and Haras du Pin, as well as the Hungarian and French national federations, we have examined every possible option to try and save the championships in 2021. But we have reached the regrettable decision that it simply is not possible to have these important events so close to the Olympic and Paralympic Games next year.

“While there are some nations that have enough horsepower to send strong teams to the Olympic and Paralympic Games and also to the European Championships across the four disciplines, we have to offer a level playing field to all eligible countries and we simply cannot do that in this case, so we have agreed that the focus should be on Tokyo next year.

“Of course it is desperately disappointing to lose these championships from the 2021 calendar, but we will continue to support Budapest with their double Europeans for driving and vaulting.”

Discussions around other FEI championships, including the Europeans in 2023, will be held during next month’s FEI board videoconference meeting (23-25 June). The organisers at Haras du Pin have made a proposal to the FEI about potentially hosting the eventing championships in 2023.

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Valérie Moulin, president of the Ustica organising committee at Haras du Pin, also expressed her disappointment: “We are very disappointed that the rescheduling of Tokyo 2020 has led to the cancellation of the championships in Haras du Pin, but unfortunately we were unable to find alternative dates outside August 2021. We had gathered a lot of local partners and we were financially invested.

“All riders counted on this date, nevertheless we understand that the situation has changed over the last months with the postponement of the Olympic Games. We have made a proposal to the FEI about potentially hosting the championships in 2023 and we look forward to hearing about that.”

Dorottya Stróbl, member of the managing board of the Budapest organising committee and secretary general of the Hungarian national federation, said: “It was the very first time that a Central European country had won the opportunity to organise the prestigious FEI multidiscipline European Championships.

“We strongly believed that the event would serve as a high motivation for the owners and sponsors in Hungary and in the neighbouring countries and promote the sport towards the elite level, but we understand that the significant challenges of holding major FEI championships in the Olympic and Paralympic disciplines in the year of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, has meant that unfortunately cancellation was inevitable. However, we will continue to work to ensure the very highest level of FEI driving and vaulting European sport in Budapest next year.”

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