The 1998 World Equestrian Games were allocated to Dublin even before the 1994 edition had taken place and unfortunately, despite the very good initial plans, there were various problems which had become apparent from the very beginning. Finally, the Dublin Organising Committee was forced to give up. For a second time, the originally successful bidder failed to live up to their promises and the saga of the Dublin allocation makes for painful recollection. During Gothenburg Show in 1996, two years after Dublin celebrated its successful bid campaign, it was announced that the Irish Government had withdrawn its support from the event.
The abandonment of the project was dramatic as Ireland is a country with a very thoroughly developed horse tradition. In this difficult situation the FEI Executive Board was very happy that several countries showed interest to organise the 1998 WEG in spite of the short notice. In a desperate effort to pick up the pieces the FEI examined the alternatives of Aachen and Rome and, opting for the latter, were rewarded with nothing short of a miracle. Some four months after the withdrawal of Dublin, Rome was chosen as the official venue for the 1998 Games. Particular credit goes to the Italian NF President Cesare Croce, who showed much courage in taking the project over.
If, as FEI President Prince Philip suggested in 1991, three years does not allow a sufficient preparation period to organise a colossal event such as the World Equestrian Games then how on earth did the Italians manage to do it in a year? Sheer determination and the will to give it their best shot was the key, and against all the odds the WEG in Rome in 1998 was nothing short of a triumph.
Similarly to Stockholm and The Hague, the sport in Rome was excellent. Financial aspects were skillfully handled mainly by Andrea Riffeser of Monrif Group, an important Italian publishing company, and as far as can be ascertained, all WEG expenses were covered.
A Total of 42 Countries participated in the 1998 World Equestrian Games.
For more information on the 1998 WEG in Rome, please consult our factsheet.
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