The FEI European Championships in the Olympic and Paralympic disciplines of jumping, eventing, dressage and para-dressage will not be held in 2021 due to the revised dates for the Tokyo Games next year. European Championships in the non-Olympic disciplines will still be organized in 2021.
The Hungarian capital of Budapest had been due to play host to five disciplines next summer from Aug. 23 to Sept. 5. However, the proximity of the championships to the rescheduled Olympic and Paralympic Games means it is no longer feasible to run jumping, dressage and para-dressage. As part of its 50th anniversary celebrations of the first FEI European Driving Championships in Budapest back in 1971, the organizers will still host driving and vaulting next year.
The 2021 FEI European Eventing Championships were scheduled to take place from Aug. 11-15 at Haras du Pin (France), site of the eventing test of the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, but those championships were also canceled following the postponement of Tokyo 2020.
The new dates for the Tokyo Olympic Games are July 23 to Aug. 8, 2021, and the Paralympic Games will run from Aug. 24 through Sept. 5.
The bid process for the 2021 European Championships in these four disciplines will not be reopened, as all organizers would face the same challenges of trying to host major championships so close to the Tokyo Games.
“Together with the organizing committees of both Budapest and Haras du Pin, as well as the Hungarian and French National Federations, we have examined every possible option to try and save the championships in 2021,” FEI Secretary General Sabrina Ibáñez said, “but we have reached the regrettable decision that it simply is not possible to have these important events so close to the Olympic and Paralympic Games next year.
“While there are some nations that have enough horsepower to send strong teams to the Olympic and Paralympic Games and also to the European Championships across the four disciplines, we have to offer a level playing field to all eligible countries, and we simply cannot do that in this case, so we have agreed that the focus should be on Tokyo next year,” she continued.
Ibáñez has overall responsibility for the FEI calendar and is currently chairing the eight discipline-specific task forces that have been set up to seek ways of mitigating the effect of the current COVID-19 pandemic on the FEI calendar, including the knock-on effects into 2021.
Discussions around other FEI championships, including the Europeans in 2023, will be held during next month’s FEI board videoconference meeting, which is set for June 23-25.