Canada now seems to be a sure bet in a one-horse race to host the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games.
A process that began with five hopefuls has slowly but surely been whittled down to one, with Vienna, Austria, the latest to drop out from contention.
From June through to October last year, Hungary, Morocco, and the US pulled out of contention, and the failure of Vienna to meet the December 2012 deadline to deliver a signed host agreement meant the Austrian city is also out of the running.
The Canadian bid team will present to the FEI Evaluation Commission next month as part of the bid process before a final decision on the host city in June. Canada has nominated Bromont, which staged the equestrian events for the 1976 Olympic Games, as the venue for 2018.
However, history is no prerequisite for getting the job, as the Mexican town of Guadalajara learned recently, when the 2011 Pan American Games host city was stripped of the hosting rights for the 2015 World Cup jumping and dressage finals.
Canada’s 2018 bid committee, which is expected to include the Bromont mayor Pauline Quinlan and Equine Canada President Mike Gallagher, will travel to FEI Headquarters in Lausanne in Switzerland on February 26 – 27 for meetings with the Evaluation Commission.
A five-strong FEI delegation, representing the Federation’s sports, veterinary, commercial and financial departments, conducted a site visit of the Bromont venue at the end of November last year. Gallagher said that the three-day tour included a visit to the Montreal Olympic Stadium “where Cirque du Soleil promises to hold the most exciting opening ceremonies in WEG history”.
“The evaluation committee was very impressed with the enthusiasm, commitment and professionalism of the Bid Committee and Equine Canada,” Gallagher said in a message to members this month.
Following the Bromont presentation on February 27, the FEI Evaluation Commission will produce a report for the Bureau. The Bromont bid team will then return to Lausanne for the in-person Bureau meeting in June and will make a formal presentation, before the Bureau vote that will decide the allocation of the FEI World Equestrian Games 2018.
“It is of course disappointing to have lost Vienna as one of our bid cities for the FEI World Equestrian Games in 2018,” said FEI Secretary General Ingmar De Vos, “but we are very much looking forward to seeing the presentation from Bromont when the Canadians come to FEI Headquarters in Lausanne at the end of next month to present their bid book to the FEI Evaluation Commission.”
Should Canada win the hosting rights, it would be only the second time that a World Equestrian Games has been held outside Europe, after Kentucky in the USA hosted the 2010 edition. The 2014 games are in Normandy, France.