Rabat in Morocco has pulled out of the bidding process for the 2018 World Equestrian Games.
The withdrawal was spurred by the death of Princess Lalla Amina, who died in August. She had been president of the Fédération Royale Marocaine des Sports Equestres since 1999.
“The sad passing of HRH Princess Lalla Amina has meant that the Moroccans have lost the driving force behind their bid to stage the FEI World Equestrian Games in 2018,” said FEI Secretary General Ingmar De Vos.
Still in the running are Bromont in Canada, and Vienna in Austria. Budapest (Hungary) and Wellington (Florida, USA) had also reached Official Candidate status, but both also pulled out earlier this year.
“We have two strong bids from Canada and Austria for 2018, and we are hopeful that the Moroccans can regroup and put in a bid for 2022,” De Vos said.
Committees have until December 15, 2012 to submit their official host bid package.
The host city will be selected by the FEI Bureau in the spring of 2013.
The FEI World Equestrian Games are held every four years, in the middle of the Olympic cycle. The seven FEI disciplines – Jumping, Dressage and Para-Equestrian Dressage, Eventing, Driving, Endurance, Vaulting and Reining – are all included on the competition schedule.
The inaugural FEI World Equestrian Games were hosted in Stockholm (SWE) in 1990. Since then the Games have been staged in The Hague (NED) in 1994, Rome (ITA) in 1998, Jerez (ESP) in 2002, and Aachen (GER) in 2006. The first Games to be staged outside Europe were the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Kentucky (USA) 2010. The Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games 2014 will be held in Caen, France.
The World Equestrian Games bring about a half-million spectators and 5500 volunteers to watch about 650 athletes and 750 horses competing for world championships in dressage, driving, endurance, eventing, jumping, reining, vaulting and para-dressage. About 1600 media representatives from around the world cover the event.