Organizers in Bordeaux, France hope to host future Longines FEI World Cup Final

France's Penelope Leprevost and Vancouver de Lanlore in Bordeaux last weekend
Credit : Scoopdyga

Wednesday 13 February - 17h16 | Sébastien Roullier

Organizers in Bordeaux, France hope to host future Longines FEI World Cup Final

What if Bordeaux finally hosted the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup Final? Some in the southwestern French city, whose Jumping de Bordeaux competition last weekend featured one of the 13 World Cup qualifiers for the Western European league, have long had the idea in mind. And now Éric Dulong, head of the business tourism organization Congrès et Expositions de Bordeaux (CEB) wishes to pursue the idea of hosting the event, which this year is being held in Gothenburg, Sweden. GRANDPRIX met him on the side of the arena at last weekend’s competition.

 - Organizers in Bordeaux, France hope to host future Longines FEI World Cup Final

Éric Dulong
Credit : Artiste-Associé

Last night during the press conference following the World Cup Grand Prix, you made it clear that you feel the fans in Bordeaux deserve the World Cup Final. Does that mean that you will seriously embark on such an adventure?
Indeed, it would be a great reward for our fans in Bordeaux, the region of Aquitaine and further afield, who deserve it [the 7,500 seats at the venue were sold out Friday night, Saturday and Sunday – ed.]…. For my part, I experienced my sixth Jumping de Bordeaux as president of the CEB, and besides these fabulous crowds, I have always been struck by the positive feedback we receive from riders and their entourages, officials and the press. Not only regarding the atmosphere here but also the welcome we give them and the configuration of the stands, which are right here at the edge of the arena. All of this can’t help but motivate us to go further. That is the message I wanted to convey. Since 1978 (the start of the World Cup Final), this vision hasn’t come to fruition here, but that’s not a reason not to try to pursue it again.
 
Past attempts have always failed for financial reasons. Do you think the CEB could raise the necessary funds to receive the Final?
Financing is obviously a complex issue. Alain Juppé [President of Bordeaux Metropolis, Mayor of Bordeaux and former French Prime Minister – ed.] honoured us with his presence this year. The other night, I was also with Alain Rousset, president of the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region…. I am interested in following up on this up with them. In any case, I will do everything to get the file on the table, knowing that it will be very complicated. We'll have to study the details and evaluate what this event requires in terms of budget, human resources, infrastructure and logistics. From there, we will be able to judge whether it is really reasonable to apply for the Final within three to five years. Be that as it may, Bordeaux and its region have an extraordinary attractiveness today, which continues to grow. And this territory is represented by prominent political figures. Moreover, our current infrastructure seems to me to make possible hosting such a competition. This exhibition centre continues to be expanded and modernized. And this is is a medium-term project that will require a lot of work and reflection. Even though I will personally end my mandate at the end of 2020, I would like us to be able to work seriously and effectively in the meantime.
 
Since 2011, the Finals of the jumping and dressage World Cups have been organized together (as is the case this year in Sweden). While the expertise of Bordeaux is well established in terms of jumping, organizing dressage events would be a leap into the unknown…
Yes, that is true. Today, our jumping competition is acclaimed, as well as our Devoucoux Indoor Derby and the Final of the Driving World Cup, which we welcome again this year [Bordeaux has also successfully organized the Final for vaulting – ed.]. Not to mention that our show has been developing in an extraordinary way in recent years, especially thanks to developments in breeding. In terms of dressage, yes, that would be totally new, but why not?
 
What relationship do you have with the International Federation for Equestrian Sports (FEI) and Longines, owner and title sponsor of this winter circuit?
They are excellent. I believe that the trust and satisfaction are reciprocal. Those are obviously partners with whom we will discuss and that we will have to convince. In any case, there is a real desire on our part to make this project a reality, and I hope to see as many actors as possible share in it.

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