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. European Championships in the non-Olympic disciplines will still be organized in 2021.
The Hungarian capital of Budapest had been due to play host to five disciplines next summer – jumping, dressage, para dressage, driving, and vaulting – from August 23 to September 5. However, the proximity of the Championships to the rescheduled Olympic and Paralympic Games has meant that it is no longer feasible to run jumping, dressage, and para dressage. As part of its 50th anniversary celebrations of the first FEI European Driving Championships in Budapest back in 1971, the organizers will maintain both driving and vaulting next year.
The FEI European Eventing Championships 2021 were scheduled to take place August 11-15 at Haras du Pin (FRA), venue for the eventing test of the FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2014, but the decision has been made to cancel the 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 to September 5, 2021.
The FEI Board has agreed that the bid process for the European Championships 2021 in these four disciplines will not be reopened, as all organizers would face the same challenges of trying to host major Championships so close to the Tokyo 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”, FEI Secretary General Sabrina Ibáñez said, “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," Dorottya Stróbl, Member of the Managing Board of the Budapest Organizing Committee and Secretary General of the Hungarian National Federation, said. “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. 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.”
Discussions around other FEI Championships, including the Europeans in 2023, will be held during next month’s FEI Board videoconference meeting, which is set for June 23-25.
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This article will be updated to include statements as they are released from upcoming USEA recognized events regarding actions they are taking due to the coronavirus (COVID-19).