Glimmer of hope showjumping Europeans will go ahead next year *H&H Plus*

  • The possibility of the 2021 showjumping Europeans going ahead is back on the table after the European Equestrian Federation called for its reinstatment in a move that has been backed by British Showjumping. H&H finds out more...

    There is a shard of hope the 2021 European Showjumping Championships may be reinstated as a result of a push from the European Equestrian Federation (EEF).

    The 2021 Europeans in all Olympic and Paralympic disciplines were cancelled by the FEI in May as they clashed with the rescheduling of the Tokyo Games, which were postponed a year owing to the coronavirus pandemic.

    But support for there to be a European Championships as well as the Olympics next year has led to the EEF’s challenging the FEI’s decision.

    This was brought to the latest FEI board meeting (23–25 June) and the possibility of the 2021 showjumping Europeans going ahead is back on the table. The EEF has also pledged to help other disciplines if desire and support is shown in a “timely manner”.

    “Referring specifically to the FEI jumping European Championships, the EEF were confident that a solution could be found and that the elements which had driven the board to cancel the championships had changed and there was an opportunity to be exploited,” states the notes from the FEI board meeting on 25 June.

    “In light of the EEF’s public support for an FEI jumping European Championship 2021, the FEI board mandated the EEF to present a realistic proposal (venue, host national federation, dates and so on ) that addresses all the concerns that originally led to the cancellation, at the next board meeting on 21 July in line with the requirements stipulated in the FEI host agreement for European Championships.”

    British Showjumping (BS) chief executive Iain Graham told H&H the organisation is “supportive” of the EEF’s exploration into the possibility of running Europeans next year.

    “Normally in the year after the Olympics, it is a chance for us to give combinations championship experience to prepare them for the World Equestrian Games and the next Europeans, where Olympic qualification is on offer,” said Mr Graham.

    “Championship experience is different — it is important we have that opportunity if we can.

    “Due to what has happened in the world this year, I think having a contingency in place – an alternative – would be a good thing for us to have should the Olympics not manage to go ahead.”

    He added with new rules meaning there will only be three riders to a team in Tokyo, compared to four at previous Games, having the Europeans next year would give combinations who have missed out on the Olympics an opportunity at another senior championships.

    The EEF’s position statement, dated 18 June, states there is “overwhelming support of riders, owners and other stakeholders” in European showjumping, including the International Jumping Riders Club, for both championships next year.

    Further supporting statements include letters from EEF national federation members saying they would not oppose both championships going ahead, due to the fact that the rescheduling of Tokyo remains uncertain in light of Covid-19 and the availability of “more than one” organiser to host the Europeans.

    The EEF statement adds conditions would include that horse welfare is “paramount” and that the 2021 calendar is organised to protect major showjumping events already scheduled in 2021 – the Olympic Games, Longines EEF Series Final and Longines FEI Nations Cup Final.

    “If the above conditions are successfully met, the EEF board strongly believes that it is possible to offer a level playing field to all eligible countries taking part both in Tokyo and the European Showjumping Championships 2021, while Tokyo will always remain everyone’s main focus,” adds the statement.

    “Should related developments similar to those for jumping come to the knowledge of the EEF board in a timely fashion about the disciplines of eventing, dressage and para dressage, the EEF board will immediately address anew the matter of hosting European Championships in 2021 also for those disciplines.”

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