The international equestrian federation FEI has decided to cancel the European Championships 2021 for all equestrian Olympic and Paralympic disciplines. Dressage, Eventing, Jumping and Para Dressage will be missing their continental Championships in 2021. The European Championships for Driving and Vaulting will be organised as planned.
Discussion about the FEI schedule became necessary due to the postponement of the Tokyo Olympic Games. The new dates for the Tokyo event collided with the long set European Championships. In Budapest (Hungary) five disciplines were planned to run their continental Championships, starting 23rd of August 2021 and running through to 5th of September. The FEI European Eventing Championships 2021 were scheduled to take place from 11-15 August at Haras du Pin (France). The Tokyo Olympic Games will take place from 23 July to 8 August 2021 and the Paralympic Games will run from 24 August through to 5 September 2021. As soon as the decision for the new Tokyo Olympic Games schedule was announced, it was for sure, that dates for the European Championships would have to be discussed again.
Rescheduling the European Championships in Dressage, Jumping, Eventing and Para Dressage was the plan, but proved to be the path impossible to walk. “Together with the Organising 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.”
Budapest had been looking forward to hosting European Championships for five disciplines in 2021, celebrating 50th anniversary celebrations of the first FEI European Driving Championships in Budapest back in 1971. After rescheduling there will remain the continental Championships for Driving and Vaulting. “It was the very first time that a Central European country had won the opportunity to organise the prestigious FEI multidiscipline European Championships,” Dorottya Stróbl, Member of the Managing Board of the Budapest Organising Committee and Secretary General of the Hungarian National Federation, said. “We strongly believed that the event would serve as a high motivation for the owners and sponsors in Hungary and in the neighbouring countries and promote the sport towards the elite level, but we understand that the significant challenges of holding major FEI Championships in the Olympic and Paralympic disciplines in the year of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, has meant that unfortunately cancellation was inevitable. However, we will continue to work to ensure the very highest level of FEI Driving and Vaulting European sport in Budapest next year.”
While Budapest was meant to host five disicplines, Haras du Pin (France) was due to organise the FEI European Eventing Championships 2021 from 11-15 August 2021. The Championships in this discipline have been cancelled too. Valérie Moulin, President of the Ustica Organising Committee at Haras du Pin, expressed her disappointment: “We are very disappointed that the rescheduling of Tokyo 2020 has led to the cancellation of the Championships in Haras du Pin, but unfortunately we were unable to find alternative dates outside August 2021.” The FEI Board has agreed that the bid process for the European Championships 2021 in the four disciplines will not be reopened, as all organisers would face the same challenges of trying to host major Championships so close to the Tokyo Games.