The finalising of new rules for the staging of the 2013 Jumping Nations Cup has been hailed as a truly historic occasion by FEI president Princess Haya.
The deal draws to a close intensive negotiations in recent months to find a competition structure agreeable to the key European nations.
As expected, the European qualification competition for division 1 has a distinct “Nations Cup” look to it, with the eight FEI Nations Cup Top League events from the 2012 series – La Baule, Rome, St Gallen, Aachen, Falsterbo, Rotterdam, Hickstead, and Dublin – all having been invited to host a qualifying event.
Confirmation of the deal locks into place the €16 million four-year sponsorship package from the Saudi Equestrian Fund. The series will now be called the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup.
Furusiyya is the brand name for the commercial arm of the Saudi Equestrian Fund.
The sponsorship deal, which runs to the end of 2016, was confirmed at the FEI Bureau’s first meeting at the Federation’s General Assembly in Istanbul, Turkey, this week.
The Bureau gave its unanimous approval for new rules for the series, completing the remodelling process initiated in April of this year.
“This is a truly historic occasion,” Haya said.
“We have transformed a historic series and modernised it, without losing the fabulous tradition that dates back over 100 years. Now we have a series that will really catch the imagination of sports fans and the attention of the world’s media. We’re ready to take on the top sports.
“I am confident that we now have the right format to put the FEI Nations Cup series right back where it belongs, at the heart of the international calendar.
“I want to thank everyone who has been involved in the remodelling of the series, which has entailed a huge amount of input from the National Federations and stakeholders and it has taken a lot of work to incorporate all this into the series format.
“But most of all I want to thank the Saudi Equestrian Fund for their vision and for their belief in this flagship series.
“The restructuring process to give the series a truly global reach would not have been possible without their financial support.
“In keeping with the way all our sponsors operate, they stood back to allow the FEI Jumping Committee and the staff at FEI headquarters to commit to an intensive consultation process with the National Federations and to draw up the rules unhindered.”
Haya said the new rules kept what was good about the previous format, but remodelled it to make the series universal and modern.
Under the new rules, the world has been divided into six regions for the purpose of qualifying teams for a world final. The six regions are Europe (Division 1 and 2), North & Central America, South America, Middle East, Asia/Australia and Africa.
An executive summary of the new rules is available here. The full rules for the series will published on the FEI website later this week.