On 8 September 2022, the FEI Board confirmed the termination of the Host Agreement for the FEI Endurance World Championship 2022 that had been set to take place in Verona (ITA) from 19 to 23 October. The decision, taken during the Board’s monthly teleconference, also includes the provision to reopen the bid process in order to find a new host for the Championship.
The resolution puts an end to a lengthy preparation process, which began after the event’s allocation by the FEI Board in December 2020. It also confirms a formal notice of termination of the Host Agreement sent to the Verona Organising Committee on 26 August 2022, reflecting the FEI’s concerns including but not limited to track readiness, athlete safety, and the lack of detailed planning schedules in the lead up to the Championship. Following the notice of termination, the Organising Committee was given 10 days to remedy the situation and address the issues raised.
During the teleconference, the Board reviewed the documents and responses received from the Organising Committee as well as the feedback from the Technical Delegates on the latest information provided. The FEI Board also took note of the tight deadlines for the completion of the track due to the delays in planning and necessary upgrades, as well as the constraints on carrying out the necessary work during the month of September until early October due to the Fiera del Riso taking place at the same venue. The FEI Board could only conclude that, regretfully, the information and details provided by the Organising Committee were insufficient to justify maintaining the Championship.
“This was not a decision we took lightly, as we fully understand the ramifications it will have, but we had to take our responsibilities and respect the assessment of our technical experts,” FEI President Ingmar De Vos said. “We waited until now, because we had genuinely hoped that the issues that had been previously raised with the Organising Committee would have been resolved following several site visits and meetings, but unfortunately, this was not the case. To cancel earlier would have been premature, and to cancel any later, would have been even more disruptive.
“There is no doubt a lot of hard work and commitment, both from the Organising Committee and the FEI, as well as numerous experts have gone into the planning of this event.
“This is really unfortunate for everyone involved but if the experts are of the opinion that the safety of the athletes - both human and equine – cannot be guaranteed, the Board has no other option but to follow their recommendations.
“Athletes around the world, as well as National Federations have been preparing for this Championship, and we are extremely conscious of the impact the cancellation will have on their plans. However, previous experiences have taught us that there is no room for compromise when it comes to athlete and horse welfare. We will now focus all our attention on finding a new host for the FEI Endurance World Championship.”
The Board decided that the rescheduled Championship should take place no later than 30 April 2023 to allow organisers from all regions of the world to bid and given that other FEI Endurance Championships are scheduled to take place later in 2023. The bid process for the Championship will be reopened on Monday, 12 September when the application criteria and allocation deadlines will be announced.
The qualification obtained for the FEI Endurance World Championship 2022 will remain valid and the nominated entries will be reopened with an extended qualification window.
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