Equestrian representatives from around the world gathered online and in-person at the Olympic Museum in Lausanne (SUI) on Tuesday 25 October to explore different options to ensure a sustainable future for the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ Series.
A diverse spectrum of the Jumping community was present at the task force meeting, with around 50 participants from over 20 nations representing the interests of Athletes, National Federations and Regional Associations, Organisers, Chef d’Equipes, Owners, and the FEI.
The day was divided in two parts, beginning with a very clear setting of the scene by the FEI President Ingmar De Vos, where he referred to the long history and evolution of the Series, the success of the Series and the need to adapt to a changing sporting and media landscape. This was followed by presentations from FEI Staff including Jumping Director Marco Fusté, Commercial Director Ralph Straus, Legal Director and Deputy Directors Mikael Rentsch and Aine Power and FEI Secretary General Sabrina Ibáñez. The FEI delegation set out the current situation in relation to the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ Series including the sporting context, the bidding process and legal requirements, the pool of events available to host qualifiers, as well as an increasingly competitive Calendar with international Jumping events rising from 720 in 2007 to 1771 in 2022, an ever-changing media landscape, commercial implications and a lack of identity for the Series.
With a break for lunch, and clear discussion points in mind for the afternoon, the second part of the day focussed around input from each of the different stakeholder groups and their ideas to secure the future of the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ Series. This was facilitated by a representative panel consisting of Athletes Steve Guerdat (SUI) and Kevin Staut (FRA); Organisers Nayla Stössel from St. Gallen (SUI) and Daniela Garcia from Mexico; Swedish Chef d’equipe Henrik Ankarcrona; Chair of the FEI Jumping Committee Stephan Ellenbruch; and, FEI Secretary General Sabrina Ibáñez.
As the day progressed, with ample feedback from the panel, constructive contributions from the participants in Lausanne and a detailed proposal from online participant Beezie Madden (USA), there was no shortage of ideas and there was both consensus and an appetite to address certain challenges in the redesign of the series going forward.
For FEI President Ingmar De Vos who moderated the meeting, the dedication of the community “was echoed in the high level task force discussions, with all the participants expressing their commitment to the Series and everything it stands for, and a strong desire to see it succeed and maintain its place as the pinnacle of our sport. Because this is what many athletes aspire to – to represent their nation on the international stage, to be a part of a team, and to win or compete for their flag. And this is a dream which the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup Series can and should continue to deliver for elite and developing equestrian nations.
“But to do this, we need a clear and easy to understand concept and a unique identity which reflects this status as the pinnacle of the sport, a global series with top events, and a narrative that can attract fans, inspire teams and create that strong sense of pride which goes hand in hand with the heritage of the FEI Nations Cup.”
“There is no shortage of commitment to the Series, but we need to secure and ensure meaningful change if we are to guarantee the viability of the Series for generations to come and we need the active help of our National Federations to provide us with the right tools to make this happen.
“I believe this task force meeting addressed all the relevant topics and confirmed that we are all in this together, and we will have to do this together in the name of the sport, and in the name of this wonderful Series which has such an important place in the community.”
As for next steps, the FEI President confirmed that based on the constructive feedback from the meeting, an internal debrief will follow to establish future actions including drafting some proposals for a stronger framework, and a follow up meeting with the task force in the first quarter of 2023 to continue the fruitful discussions.
World-renowned athlete and President of the International Jumping Riders Club Kevin Staut (FRA) summarised the position of Athletes and the general consensus in the room aptly when saying “we all want clarity and consistency (…) and we want the series to be rewarding for the Athletes, the NFs and the Organisers.
“We go for the glory, we go for the sport.”
For more information on the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™, click here.