The FEI European Championships in the Olympic and Paralympic disciplines of jumping, eventing, dressage and para dressage will not be held in 2021 due to the revised dates for the Tokyo Games next year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. European Championships in the non-Olympic disciplines will still be organized in 2021.
The 2021 FEI European Eventing Championships were scheduled to take place August 11-15 at Haras du Pin, France, which is also the venue from the eventing test of the 2014 FEI World Equestrian Games, but the decision has been made to cancel those championships following the postponement of Tokyo 2020.
The new dates for the Tokyo Olympic Games are July 23 to August 8, 2021 and the Paralympic Games will run from August 24 through September 5, 2021.
The FEI Board has agreed that the bid process for the 2021 European Championships in these show jumping, eventing, dressage, and para dressage will not be reopened, as all organizers would face the same challenges of trying to host major championships so close to the Tokyo Olympic Games.
“Together with the Organizing Committees of both Budapest and Haras du Pin, as well as the Hungarian and French National Federations, we have examined every possible option to try and save the championships in 2021,” said FEI Secretary General Sabrina Ibáñez. “But we have reached the regrettable decision that it simply is not possible to have these important events so close to the Olympic and Paralympic Games next year.
“While there are some nations that have enough horsepower to send strong teams to the Olympic and Paralympic Games and also to the European Championships across the four disciplines, we have to offer a level playing field to all eligible countries, and we simply cannot do that in this case, so we have agreed that the focus should be on Tokyo next year.
“Of course, it is desperately disappointing to lose these championships from the 2021 calendar, but we will continue to support Budapest with their double Europeans for driving and vaulting.”
The FEI Secretary General has overall responsibility for the FEI calendar and is currently chairing the eight discipline-specific task forces that have been set up to seek ways of mitigating the effect of the current COVID-19 pandemic on the FEI calendar, including the knock-on effects into 2021.
“It was the very first time that a Central European country had won the opportunity to organize the prestigious FEI multidiscipline European Championships,” said Dorottya Stróbl, member of the Managing Board of the Budapest Organizing Committee and Secretary General of the Hungarian Equestrian Federation. “We strongly believed that the event would serve as a high motivation for the owners and sponsors in Hungary and in the neighboring countries and promote the sport towards the elite level, but we understand that the significant challenges of holding major FEI championships in the Olympic and Paralympic disciplines in the year of the Olympic and Paralympic Games has meant that, unfortunately, cancellation was inevitable. However, we will continue to work to ensure the very highest level of FEI driving and vaulting European sport in Budapest next year.”
Valérie Moulin, president of the Ustica Organizing Committee at Haras du Pin, also expressed her disappointment. “We are very disappointed that the rescheduling of Tokyo 2020 has led to the cancellation of the championships in Haras du Pin, but unfortunately we were unable to find alternative dates outside August 2021,” said Moulin. “We had gathered a lot of local partners, and we were financially invested. All riders counted on this date. Nevertheless, we understand that the situation has changed over the last months with the postponement of the Olympic Games. We have made a proposal to the FEI about potentially hosting the championships in 2023, and we look forward to hearing about that.”
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