Wednesday, Jul. 24, 2024

FEI Announces Inaugural Longines League Of Nations Locations

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The Fédération Equestre Internationale this week released details about the Longines League of Nations, a new series that will replace the current Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup circuit.

The new league will pit the world’s top 10 countries against one another, with four qualifying legs of the tour and a final confirmed for the 2024-2027 seasons. The FEI planned to allocate five qualifiers, but with 2024 being an Olympic year and therefore especially busy the FEI will wait to add a fifth qualifier until 2025, FEI Secretary General Sabrina Ibáñez said. The number of qualifiers represents half of the 10 Longines Nations Cup events on this year’s calendar.

Qualifiers will take place at CSIO5* competitions in Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates), Ocala (Florida), St. Gallen (Switzerland) and Rotterdam (the Netherlands), followed by a final to take place at the Barcelona CSIO5* (Spain). The Ocala leg will be held March 20-24 at the World Equestrian Center—Ocala. The final locations were selected from among 18 competitions worldwide whose organizers applied to host qualifiers for the new League of Nations.

The new Longines League of Nations will replace the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup circuit, which hosted events like the CSIO5* San Miguel de Allende earlier this year, won by the NetJets U.S. Show Jumping Team of (from left) Jessica Springsteen, Laura Kraut, Chef d’Equipe Robert Ridland, Kent Farrington and Bliss Heers. FEI/Mackenzie Clarke Photo

“Team spirit and excellent horsemanship will be essential for the teams’ successful participation in the series,” FEI spokeswoman Malina Gueorguiev wrote in an email. “The new format requires that the 10 teams compete in all of the four qualifiers to qualify for the final. This will require some heavy traveling between the UAE, USA (Florida) and Western Europe in a relatively short amount of time (February to July) so mutual support and correct management of resources will be key in securing qualification for the final.”

The 10 top-ranked nations may compete in the League of Nations, plus the host nation if not already qualified. The nations are ranked based off each national federation’s top six athletes on the Longines Rankings, at least one of whom must be a U25 rider.

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Like in a regular Nations Cup, the League of Nations is a two-round competition, with identical courses, and each round is a Table A format against the clock. Four horse-and-rider combinations compete in the first round of the qualifier with a drop score. The top eight teams will advance to Round 2 in reverse order, where the rules differ from a traditional Nations Cup. In that round only three horse-and-rider combinations from each country jump, and there is no drop score. This format will be unique to the League of Nations. You can see the full rules here.

The creation of the league will not affect non-Longines sponsored Nations Cup events, and Wellington International President Michael Stone confirmed that show will be holding a Nations Cup in 2024.

Conversations about revamping the series began in earnest in October 2022, with the goal of “[delivering] a concept which was global, easy to understand, a showcase for the very best venues and teams, whilst being attractive to athletes, National Federations, organizers, sponsors, broadcasters, media and fans, and full of storytelling opportunities,” according to an April press release.

“We have made a historic decision for the future of equestrian sport,” said FEI President Ingmar De Vos. “This series is about inspiring individuals and nations around the core values of our sport—camaraderie, team spirit, horsemanship and excellence—and for over a century it has played an invaluable role in the development of equestrian globally.”

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