Following overwhelming support at the second in-person Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ Task Force Meeting in Lausanne (SUI) on Tuesday 28 March, where the FEI presented a new framework and working concept for the historic series, the FEI Board has today approved a change to the FEI General Regulations deemed a necessary stepping stone in the makeover process.
The new proposed direction for the prestigious team series is the culmination of a 6-month consultation process which began on 25 October 2022 with a first Task Force meeting in Lausanne for all key stakeholders involved in the Nations Cup series, followed by a number of online sessions with the relevant National Federations to further explore regulatory changes prior to the second Task Force meeting last Tuesday.
From the fruitful discussions in October and the clear support of the Jumping stakeholders to revitalise and reinvent the series for 2024 onwards, the FEI had been tasked to “think outside the box” and deliver a concept which was global, easy to understand, a showcase for the very best venues and teams, whilst being attractive to athletes, National Federations, organisers, sponsors, broadcasters, media and fans, and full of storytelling opportunities.
The new series concept, which the FEI has clearly expressed is a work in progress, still requires further details to be established with the involvement of the Technical Committee and will be subject to the final endorsement of Top Partner Longines. The concept includes a new proposed series name – the Longines League of Nations – in order to differentiate the top series from all Nations Cups, as well as a simplified format, where the same top nations compete over five qualifiers leading up to a Final.
Competitive prize money and financial incentives for Organisers, Athletes and National Federations, as well as added opportunities to reward U25 athletes, grooms, chefs d’équipe, and owners, are all part of the concept which was hailed a “game-changer” at the recent Task Force meeting that was attended by 50+ participants representing over 20 nations, and received the full endorsement of the FEI Board earlier today.
In order to deliver and develop the series to its full potential, the modifications of the FEI General Regulations will allow the FEI to directly select the Events that make up the series via the creation of a new category of CSIO, referred to as an FEI CSIO Series Event. With just a handful of qualifiers concerned by this new FEI CSIO Series Event denomination, the rule changes are not expected to affect the global calendar, however, the FEI CSIO Series Events will be subject to an additional date clash rule whereby an FEI CSIO Series Event cannot be scheduled on the same dates as an existing CSIO5* in the same country or continent.
For the FEI President, while the change to the General Regulations “will have a limited impact on the FEI Calendar, it is an essential building block towards raising the profile of the prestigious team series and to guarantee its sustainability. Cooperation with the National Federations remains key for the success of the series but we now have more freedom to choose the Events that are part of it.
“We are so fortunate to have a wonderful and loyal partner in Longines, and this opportunity to develop a historic series which holds such a special place in the heart of the equestrian community. Longines’ understanding of the sport, the values and the significance of the series is remarkable, and we are ecstatic to have them by our side for this exciting new adventure.
“We set out to reinvent the series so that it would inspire and unite the equestrian community once again around top sport and the incredible sense of pride which goes hand in hand with the Nations Cup, and I believe together and through this intense consultation process, we have paved the way for a sustainable future for this iconic series. This is about a top series with top teams and top venues – the principle is simple but we believe really impactful. Of course, there is still a lot of work and details to fine tune, but we have the framework, and we have the strong support from the community, from the FEI Board, and from our Top Partner Longines. This was a good day for the sport.”
Set to be launched for 2024, the next key phases for the series transformation include the development of the detailed technical sport Rules by the FEI Jumping Committee in consultation with key stakeholders, including qualification formulas to establish the top nations that will take part in the series, the competition formats as well as the launch of a bidding process to select the venues for the Series that will be open to all Organisers.