FEI hit by fresh blow as sole bidder withdraws World Equestrian Games offer

The International Equestrian Federation (FEI) has been forced to re-open the bidding process for its 2022 World Equestrian Games after sole candidate Samorin elected to withdraw its bid.

The decision by the Slovakian town was announced by the FEI at its general assembly yesterday (Wednesday) and it comes as a fresh blow to the federation’s showpiece event. Samorin was seemingly poised to land the 2022 Games after rival bidder, the US city of Lexington, exited the race in January.

Lexington’s withdrawal came after a vote amongst Kentucky Horse Park Commission members in which they expressed concerns regarding the staging of the Games and the potential conflict that hosting would create with the long-term goals of the Kentucky Horse Park, including limitations on potential revenue opportunities for the facility.

FEI president Ingmar de Vos told the general assembly that despite lengthy talks, Samorin elected to withdraw its bid, adding the decision was made “very recently”. As a result, the FEI Bureau has decided to re-open the bidding process for the 2022 Games. Under a revised timeline, the 2022 World Equestrian Games will be allocated at the in-person FEI Bureau meeting in November 2018.

“We are confident there will be candidates, but these are complex Games and we need to make sure we do it right,” De Vos said.

Lexington staged the 2010 edition of the quadrennial event, while Slovakia was bidding to host the Games for the first time. The most recent edition of the Games was staged in Normandy, France in 2014.

The event will travel to Tryon in 2018, with the North Carolina town having been awarded hosting rights in November 2016 following July’s withdrawal of Bromont in Canada due to financial concerns. The 2018 Games had been due to take place in Bromont from August 12-26 but the event will now be staged from September 10-23 in Tryon.