It’s been rumbling on for a long time, as is the International Equestrian Federation’s (FEI) preference, but the decision regarding where the 2018 World Equestrian Games (WEG) will be held has inched closer today. When I blogged on this topic back in October, the race had been re-opened, due to the process being hindered by financial difficulties and other logistical issues some candidate nations were facing.
Yesterday was the deadline for candidates still in the running to submit signed host agreements. The FEI reported today that Canada’s Bromont/Montreal bid (one which pretty much existed from the outset, and a venue which many thought had won the initial selection by default) and the USA’s Lexington had returned theirs, but that a second USA bid – from Wellington, Florida – had been withdrawn.
I think this is a shame for several reasons: if the Canadian bid is successful, the process being extended by a year will feel like a farce; Lexington would make history by being the first location to host a WEG twice, though their first attempt wasn’t profitable and, for me, having exactly the same venue host an event which isn’t their own within such a relatively short space of time makes a mockery of the concept of a roaming event; Wellington could have pulled off a fantastic event – it’s home to the annual World Equestrian Festival (WEF – apologies for the amount of three-letter abbreviations in this post!) which has been increasingly successful year on year, demonstrating that the area is attractive to equestrians and competent when it comes to staging large-scale equestrian events. Interestingly, it is the existence of WEF which has apparently prompted Wellington’s withdrawal from the WEG bidding process, though I smell a rat here.
So now there are two, and my gut is telling me that the FEI will choose Lexington. They showed a clear lack of faith in Bromont’s bid last year by re-opening the process, but Canada have fought back by continuing to bid, a sign that they are dedicated and keen. I once read a theory that, when recruiting for a job, companies are essentially asking themselves three simple questions about each candidate: can they do the job, will they do the job, and will they fit in? Lexington has proven it can do the job, Bromont hasn’t yet had the chance. Both venues have proven willingness. Potentially, for whatever reason, Bromont’s face does not fit with the FEI. Which, if you’re keeping score, means the competition ends 3 – 1 in the USA’s favour.
Whatever is decided, I hope that the process really does end soon, as time is getting increasingly tight. And I’ll continue to live in the hope of attending a home WEG in future.