The president of the FEI has cast doubt over the future of the World Equestrian Games (WEG) as he prepares for his next term in office.
Ingmar de Vos has pledged to review the FEI’s games and championships “with an open mind in order to make the best choices for the future and sustainability of our sport”.
“Although we have further strengthened the minimum eligibility criteria, we must recognise that due to the successful development of our sport in many regions it is more and more difficult to find organisers that are capable of organising an event of such magnitude,” said Mr de Vos.
“It is also increasingly difficult for [national federations] to send athletes in all the disciplines for which their athletes achieved the minimum eligibility requirements.
“We must have the courage to look at the future of our World Championships and ask if the WEG is still the best format.”
He added while the FEI would promote multi-disciplinary bids, the organisation needs to ask itself it is “realistic to impose a model integrating all our disciplines in one event”.
“If we want to be successful we need to have a model that creates competition and can interest a lot of organisers rather than having to fight to find and motivate one organiser for WEG,” said Mr de Vos.
A number of previous WEG venues have found hosting the event challenging, particularly on the financial side.
This year’s WEG faced huge challenges, including Storm Florence.
Tryon stepped in with less than two years to prepare for the Games, which were originally to be hosted at Bromont, Canada. But in a mutual decision between Bromont and the FEI, the Canadian venue pulled out of hosting WEG 2018 due to financial issues.
Mr de Vos’ comments were made as part of his presidential programme for 2018 to 2022, in which he sets out aims for the sport for the next four years.
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Support for grooms
The president has also pledged to do more to “understand and support” grooms.
“I strongly believe that we must reach out more to a group that often has been neglected, namely, the grooms,” he said.
“As they take care of our horses, day in and day out, and travel with them from event to event, we should make more effort to better understand and support them.
“Several preparatory meetings have been held with representatives of the grooms. We will continue these efforts and will help them create their own international association in order to have a representative body with whom we can interact.”
He added the “ultimate goal” is to register grooms with the FEI and provide them with a certificate after an online course and exam in order to “recognise their crucial role in the equestrian world”.
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