The end of WEG as we know it? FEI opens bids for individual world championships

The World Equestrian Games (WEG) may be separated into individual world championships due to a dearth of bids to host the 2022 event.

The FEI announced the decision at its general assembly in Bahrain on Saturday (17 November).

A number of previous hosts have found holding the games expensive and logistically difficult.

A statement from the FEI bureau said the organisation has twice opened the bidding process for the 2022 games, but this has “not resulted in any realistic bids”.

The governing body will open the bidding process for individual world championships and preference will be given to multi-discipline bids.

“The president stressed that this does not necessarily mean the end of [WEG] bids to host the full seven-discipline games for 2022 and 2026 will be considered,” added the statement

“However, he made it clear that securing world championships for 2022 in the Olympic and Paralympic disciplines was crucial as these serve as qualifiers for the Paris 2024 Games.”

The ill-fated endurance saga

A report into the endurance failings at WEG 2018 by the independent Equestrian Community Integrity Unit (ECIU) found there was “no single reason” for the chaotic scenes during the competition.

It concluded the problems arose from multiple issues, mainly a lack of communication between officials — particularly a lack of radios — and between the organising committee, national federations and athletes.

There were also troubles with delays to the preparation of the vet gate and the endurance trail, plus the decision to maintain a full schedule of events at Tryon that “stretched an already under-resourced team required to deliver both these events and the games”. The ride was cancelled part-way through.

A second report, regarding allegations of misconduct, will be reviewed by the FEI legal team to decide whether further disciplinary proceedings will be brought before the FEI tribunal.

FEI secretary general Sabrina Ibáñez presented an overview of the games, including their delivery, communication, the management structure of the organising committee.

“To be completely honest we, as a community, were fortunate that Tryon were courageous and willing to take on the enormous challenge to host the Games only 22 months prior to the event,” said Ms Ibáñez. “Without them we would have had no WEG 2018.”

For more detail and reaction to the WEG news, don’t miss this week’s issue of Horse & Hound, out Thursday (22 February).