Decision to cancel eventing Europeans explained following social media debate *H&H Plus*

  • H&H speaks to the FEI and major organisers about why there will not be an eventing European championships held next year

    THE FEI has explained the application process behind the cancelled 2021 eventing European Championships after disappointment was expressed about the decision.

    Following the announcement that the European Championships would take place for showjumping and dressage only next year (news, 29 October), debate has raged online as to why eventing cannot run.

    An FEI spokesman told H&H the federation had agreed to a revised timetable to allow the European Equestrian Federation (EEF) to propose some potential bidders, of which three were submitted for eventing by the deadline of 21 July 2020 – Haras du Pin, France, Millstreet, Ireland, and a third, which has not been named.

    “Due to the third organising committee’s relative inexperience of hosting an event on the scale of the European Championships, this expression of interest did not proceed to the formal bidding/applicant stage,” said the spokesman.

    The FEI explained that the bids were reviewed and the key requirements were provided to the organising committees. The FEI also offered to take over some operational costs that normally would fall on the organiser.

    “Ultimately, Haras du Pin and Millstreet voluntarily withdrew from the process, due to their limitation to hold the championships on the selected dates and ongoing concerns around Covid-19. Following the withdrawal, and on the understanding that the Olympics would go ahead in 2021, the FEI board agreed not to re-open the bidding process for the eventing Europeans,” said the spokesman.

    German Olympic eventing champion Michael Jung asked on social media this month why it was not possible to have a European Championship in eventing.

    He cited a “motivated and experienced team” at Avenches, Switzerland, adding: “It is so necessary that eventing has an event like the Europeans, especially as there will only be three riders representing each nation at the Olympics.”

    But the spokesman said the FEI has been made aware of recent interest from Avenches to host the championships, but that no formal or informal expression was submitted through the Swiss national federation within the timeframe.

    “It is unfortunate there will be no eventing Europeans next year and we know there will be some disappointment about this decision, but we believe the process was a fair and thorough one, with wide consultation during a clearly specified timeframe,” he said.

    A spokesman for Millstreet confirmed to H&H they had submitted an expression of interest followed by a detailed bid document.

    “The unrelenting uncertainty thereafter resulted in our reluctant withdrawal from the process with a very heavy heart,” he said. “We look forward to future occasions in more certain times.”

    Julia Otto, event director of 2019 eventing Europeans host Luhmühlen, told H&H the venue did not enter a bid for 2021 and is focusing on its five-star event in June next year.

    “We handed the flag to Haras du Pin so they should have been the next organiser,” she said.

    “When I heard the dressage and showjumping championships will happen but not eventing, that was very sad news. It’s very obvious the riders want to have as much of a chance of doing their championships as possible.”

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