The Longines FEI World Endurance Championships 2016 will be held in Samorin (SVK) following a decision at yesterday’s FEI Bureau monthly teleconference meeting. A unanimous proposal from the FEI Endurance Committee recommending the Slovakian venue received the support of the full Bureau.
Three bids to host the Championships were received when the bid process was reopened in April of this year following the decision to reallocate the event. Also bidding were Fontainebleau (FRA) and San Rossore, Pisa (ITA), but the Bureau ruled that neither of these two venues were suitable due to concerns over welfare and safety. Both venues proposed mid-October dates, meaning that the rides would start and finish in the dark, potentially putting horses and riders at risk. There is also increased potential for heavy rain in these areas at that time of year.
Samorin Equestrian Centre, the brain-child of Slovakian businessman Mario Hoffmann, staged very successful FEI European Endurance Championships last year. The 2016 World Championships will run from 15-18 September, with the qualification period ending on 16 July.
The Championships had originally been allocated to Dubai and were scheduled to be held in December of this year, but at its spring in-person meeting on 6-7 April, the FEI Bureau voted to remove the Championships from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as it felt that the UAE National Federation is not currently in a position to guarantee that horse welfare would be fully protected.
“We were very happy to receive three bids and appreciate the willingness to support the FEI at such short notice for this year’s World Championships”, FEI Secretary General Sabrina Ibáñez said, “but the Bureau had no hesitation in opting for Samorin. Horse welfare has to be the most important element in the allocation of these major events and Samorin has a proven track record, having already run both the young horse and European Endurance Championships very successfully.
“The timing of the Championships was also important and, with the three bids all coming from Europe, the Bureau felt that a September date was more appropriate. Both Fontainebleau and San Rossore were proposing mid-October when the reduced daylight hours could potentially have an impact on safety. Safeguarding the safety and welfare of the equine and human athletes is our top priority in all our disciplines.”
Additionally, the Bureau allocated the FEI World Driving Championships for Young Horses 2016 to Mezöhegyes (HUN). The Championships, which were reallocated following the withdrawal of original host venue, Conty (FRA), will run from 8-11 September.