Horse-canada.com - Full Article
Cuckson Report | September 24, 2018
Over the past 12 years I have written six lengthy pieces for various publications asking “what is the point of the World Equestrian Games (WEG)?” Anyone over 50 will recall the kudos and success of single-discipline world championships that were the norm till 1986.The first WEG, Stockholm 1990, was only ever meant to be a one-off.
I have never really understood who the all-eight-sports-in-one-basket format is aimed at. Why do so many promoters assume that anything with a horse in it is of automatic, overwhelming interest to all? Most people like music, too, but show me a successful international festival with classical, jazz, country, hip hop, opera and rock all on the same bill! Even the FEI didn’t have figures available for spectators attending two or more disciplines till we got past WEG number three. I recall asking for them several times.
Yet whenever anyone has queried the validity of WEG, the FEI has firmly stated it’s by far the best way to showcase elite sport and that everyone likes it. This remained the stance even after it was common knowledge that WEG is a licence to shell out millions in unrecoverable cash.
Nowadays, experienced organisers would rather pull out their own fingernails than be lumbered with WEG. The FEI will allocate WEG to the last man standing rather than admit it isn’t a goer. At least twice the FEI has failed to ask governments direct if they are supporting the bidder – presumably for fear of hearing something it doesn’t want to know.
Ironic then, that just now we’ve found an Organizing Committee (OC) keen to repeat the WEG in, say, eight years’ time, the FEI has decided to re-evaluate the whole concept and contemplate breaking it up into more sustainable components. FEI president Ingmar de Vos said this at two press conferences this past fortnight. This significant shift was noted by just about everyone apart from the Tryon OC, which has the hide of a rhinoceros...
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