Fears for Hickstead’s nations cup as Samsung Super League axed

  • A top-level international show jumping competition is being planned as a replacement for the Super League, a move that might lead to Hickstead’s Royal International Horse Show losing its most prestigious class — the Super League Nations Cup.

    The Super League was introduced in 2003 by the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) and Samsung as a prestigious, high prize-money, team competition, held across eight premier Nations Cup shows.

    Now the FEI has released plans to replace the Super League with a series of top-level Nations Cup competitions next year that would offer guaranteed prize-money of €300,000 (around £240,000) for each one.

    “The sponsorship of the Super League has come to the end of its cycle — Samsung’s contract finishes this year — and although it is the end of an era, we also saw an opportunity to review the concept of the Super League,” said FEI spokesman Malina Gueorguiev.

    “There will be six venues instead of eight, and 10 teams will be participating, instead of the eight presently in the Super League,” said Ms Gueorguiev.

    Top show jumper Ludger Beerbaum was part of a working group convened to look at a replacement for the Super League. While the FEI stresses no decisions have been made yet on venues for the new Nations Cup, Mr Beerbaum said Aachen would “absolutely be one” and Hickstead “could have some difficulties”.

    Hickstead director Lizzie Bunn had not been informed of the FEI’s plans and told H&H the show would “fight hard” to host the new class — if sponsorship came through.

    “We’ve been investing in our facilities to keep the Super League,” she said. “We’ve done everything asked of us by the FEI — improved the main ring, upped the prize-money and installed indoor stables this year.”

    The proposed new competition

    • Maximum of six venues — as yet not chosen by the FEI
    • Ten teams in first round and six in the second round
    • Prize-money for each Nations Cup must be €300,000 (around £240,000)
    • Prize-money for grand prix at each of the six venues to be €300,000 (£240,000)

    Current Super League venues

    • La Baule, France
    • Rome, Italy
    • St-Gallen, Switzerland
    • Rotterdam, The Netherlands
    • Aachen, Germany
    • Hickstead, England
    • Dublin, Ireland
    • Barcelona, Spain

    Read this story in full in this week’s Horse & Hound (22 May, ’08)

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