New FEI Nations Cup Series Announced
RELEASE: September 25, 2008
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: By Malina Gueorguiev
There was a short press briefing at CSIO Barcelona on September 20 during which the FEI's First Vice-President Sven Holmberg and FEI Jumping Director John Roche answered questions relating to the new-formula FEI Nations Cup series 2009.
By way of background, Holmberg explained that the current contract stipulated that negotiations with a new sponsor should not begin until January 1, 2008, and that this was a short time considering what needed to be done including creating a new product, finding a sponsor and reaching agreement with all those involved.
"Long-term, the intention is to include more nations, to move the sport outside Europe and to enable more countries to take part at top level. There has been criticism of the current format, which has been described as 'a closed shop' with very little opportunity for new countries to break in, and with the same countries re-entering the series after being relegated," Holmberg pointed out.
A proposed new format was presented in April at a meeting in Interlaken, Switzerland, and further developed following discussions during CHIO Aachen in July and a meeting of the FEI Jumping Committee at FEI headquarters in Lausanne.
A short summary of the new series:
—Each Nations' Cup competition will offer at least €300,000 in prize money with an additional €300,000 on offer in the grand prix at each venue
—The sponsor will provide the Nations' Cup prize fund and the show organizer will provide the grand prix prize fund
—There will be a maximum of eight events with a total of 10 teams. If the host country is not qualified, the home team is entitled to participate at the event.
—There will be a maximum of five riders and 12 horses from each nation.
—In the first season, three teams will qualify through the Rolex World Rankings as of December 31, 2008.
—In the future, there will be three tiers of Nations Cup competition—Top Level, Promotional, which will include events from two-star to five-star level, and Lower Level, which will include only two-star shows.
—The 2009 series will include La Baule, Rome, St Gallen, Falsterbo, Rotterdam, Aachen, Hickstead and Dublin.
—The last leg will take place in Dublin, but double-points will NOT be on offered.
—The new format will operate for just one year after which it will be reviewed and modified.
—There was a meeting in Barcelona to begin the process of making contracts with show organizers.
—The standard contract will be for one year, with the option of one further year.
—Each of the organizing committees have been give of list of improvements they must make to their own event in order to satisfy the criteria.
The FEI is in advanced negotiations with a new sponsor and when the final agreement is reached the FEI will communicate it officially.