The FEI is under pressure to reinstate the 2021 European show jumping championships, amid a backlash from stakeholders who feel cancellation was premature.

The European Equestrian Federation (EEF) wants all avenues exhausted, bearing the importance of these continental championships to the sport. If there is similar demand from eventing, dressage and para 2021 – also cancelled by the FEI in reaction to the Covid-19 pandemic- the EEF will take any new proposals forward too.

The FEI originally decided to sacrifice the 2021 Europeans in Olympic disciplines, in order to throw all support behind the deferred Tokyo Games. The FEI said the revised Tokyo dates were too close and that while some countries would be able to mount strong teams for both events, this would create an unlevel playing field. The FEI also resolved not to re-open bidding to new organisers or dates.

Its decision last month caught top European jumping riders and team managers by surprise. EEF president Theo Ploegmakers (Netherlands) feels there is still a chance Tokyo 2021 could be called off. Peder Fredricson, Rio individual silver medallist and 2017 European champion, is among many riders highlighting the likely hardship for Europe’s 42 equestrian nations, only eight of which of which (Belgium, France, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland) may send full jumping teams to Tokyo because of the restricted continental quota system.

The new Tokyo jumping dates are August 4-8, 2021 (week 32 of the FEI calendar.)

Options suggested by the EEF to the FEI are:

  • Moving the Longines EEF Series Final 2021 to weeks 31 or 33, subject to waiver of the FEI rule preventing Nations Cups being held a week before and during an Olympic or world games;
  • Organizing the European jumping in week 35 (the original dates) or week 36, which allows “enough time” between Tokyo and the EEF Series Final and the FEI Longines Nations Cup Final 2021.

The EEF Series Final is at 4* level and “does not affect” Tokyo participation. The EEF says the Czech Republic and Israel are the only teams with a possible problem fielding competitive teams for both.

“At least” one un-named venue is willing to host the European jumping as a single discipline event. Budapest in Hungary (August 23-September 5) was originally slated to host the jumping and dressage as part of a five-discipline medal event, the first time a central European country would have staged a championship of this magnitude.

Budapest seems unlikely to be back in the mix. In April Hungary warned the FEI of the inflexibility of its dates, because it was running the championships in conjunction with a major exhibition called “At One with Nature.” The 2021 European driving at Budapest will go ahead.

The 2021 eventing was to have taken place at Haras du Pin, France (August 11-15) – same venue as the 2014 World Equestrian Games eventing. Those organisers also had no flexibility over dates.