Bromont in Quebec, Canada looks set to be awarded hosting rights to the World Equestrian Games in 2018 unchallenged, after becoming the only candidate to last the distance since the bid process began 14 months ago.
It emerged this week that Bromont's only other remaining challenger, Vienna, dropped out of the race after the Austrian Equestrian Federation failed to sign and return the host city contract to the FEI by the year-end 2012 deadline. Originally, Bromont faced competition from seven other cities and/or national equestrian federations wanting to host the event.
The Canadian bid team, led by Pauline Quinlan, mayor of Bromont, and Mike Gallagher, president of Equine Canada, will now make a presentation to the evaluation commission of the FEI, the international governing body for equestrian sports, in Lausanne on February 26 and 27, ahead of the host city vote by the FEI Bureau in June.
A five-strong FEI delegation, representing the governing body's sports, veterinary, commercial and financial departments, conducted a site visit of the Bromont venue in November.
Ingmar De Vos, secretary general of the FEI, said in a statement: "It is of course disappointing to have lost Vienna as one of our bid cities for the FEI World Equestrian Games in 2018, but we are very much looking forward to seeing the presentation from Bromont when the Canadians come to FEI Headquarters in Lausanne at the end of next month to present their bid book to the FEI Evaluation Commission."
Vienna was the latest city to withdraw from the race after the FEI announced in November 2011 that interest in staging the 2018 World Equestrian Games was at "an all-time high" and was "the best possible endorsement of the FEI’s flagship event."
Rabat in Morocco dropped out towards the end of last year, saying its candidacy had "lost its driving force" following the death of HRH Princess Lalla Amina, chair of the Royal Moroccan Federation for Equestrian Sports.
Wellington in the US state of Florida withdrew its bid last July, citing a change in the local government. Equestrian Sport Productions, the company that was leading the Wellington bid, claimed that wealthy landowners in the Palm Beach County area were opposed to the work that would be required to upgrade facilities for the quadrennial games.
A month earlier, the Hungarian Equestrian Federation had withdrawn the candidacy of the country’s capital Budapest, vowing to support the Vienna bid instead.
Applications from Sweden, Australia and Russia, all of which submitted formal expressions of interest to the FEI when the bid process began in November 2011, were withdrawn earlier in the year.
The games comprise world championships in seven disciplines - jumping, dressage and para-equestrian dressage, eventing, driving, endurance, vaulting and reining – and are the most prestigious equestrian event outside the Olympic Games.
The 2010 games were held in Lexington, Kentucky in USA, and next edition will be held in Basse-Normandie in France in 2014, which was also the only bidder.