Might Italy host the 2022 World Equestrian Games?

Credit : FISE

Monday 18 February - 11h03 | Ian Clayton and translated press release

Might Italy host the 2022 World Equestrian Games?

Could the World Equestrian Games (WEG) return to Italy? More than 20 years after Rome hosted the FEI World Equestrian Games in 1998, equestrian authorities in the country are looking at bringing back the major international equestrian championships in 2022, a move which could save the concept of WEG, currently under some threat.

 - Might Italy host the 2022 World Equestrian Games?

Tenuta Santa Barbara location
Credit : Google Maps

As the Italian Equestrian Sports Federation notes on its web site, an expression of non-binding interest to host a Games involving show jumping, eventing, dressage, para-equestrianism, vaulting and reining was submitted recently to the Fédération Équestre Internationale (FEI), the world governing body for those sports. 

The most recent WEG were held at the Tryon International Equestrian Center in North Carolina last September after Bromont, Quebec had previously withdrawn as host due to financial problems. The U.S. Games featured the full eight disciplines, including endurance and driving. However, the endurance competition was eventually cancelled (as was part of dressage) after a series of organizational errors.

Previously, the two finalists to host the 2022 WEG – Lexington, Kentucky and Samorin, Slovakia – had withdrawn their candidacies, and questions have long been raised about the viability of one organizer hosting the huge combined event, which dates back in its most recent form to the inaugural edition in Stockholm in 1990. Subsequent Games took place in The Hague, Netherlands in 1994, Rome, Jerez de la Frontera, Spain in 2002, Aachen, Germany in 2006, Lexington, Normandy, France in 2014 and then Tryon – with varying degrees of success. 

As a result, the FEI opened up the possibility last year of returning to individual world championships, or combined championships with less disciplines, a format the Italian proposal would follow, excluding for example the complicated endurance event.

Potential competition sites to north and south of Rome

Potential competition sites to north and south of Rome - Might Italy host the 2022 World Equestrian Games?

Rendering of potential site
Credit : FISE

The envisioned host locations mentioned in the Italian proposal (part of FISE's Elementa project) include the Tenuta Santa Barbara di Bracciano site northwest of Rome, which hosted reining and vaulting at the 1998 WEG. According to the original text in Italian, the site covers more than 180 hectares and features five covered arenas, three open arenas, one polo field, 300 stalls (with the capacity for 1,000 during events), shops, accommodations, club houses, a spa, and a veterinary clinic. 

For its part, eventing would take place in the hills around the Centro Equestre Ranieri di Campello southeast of the capital, a site that did the same in 1998 and which has extensive experience since then in the organization of championships, according to the Italian Federation. As the Federation underlines, this expression of interest by Italy is not binding. The FEI is accepting such expressions of interest for one or multiple FEI championships until February 28, 2019. 

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