Blair Castle to host the FEI European Eventing Championships 2015
Blair Atholl, Scotland
Blair Castle in Perthshire, Scotland has been announced as the host venue of the high profile FEI European Eventing Championships 2015. The British bid, backed by The Minister for Sport and the Olympics, Hugh Robertson, saw off competitive tenders from Germany, Poland, The Netherlands and Belgium to be granted the competition rights by the Bureau of the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) on Friday 8 June 2012.
Identifying a desire to capitalise on the Olympic legacy, Robertson declared the bid a 'top priority' for the UK Government and described eventing as 'an integral part of our sporting culture'.
Sarah Troughton, trustee of Blair Castle Estate, said: "This is tremendously exciting news and everyone at Atholl Estates look forward to the continued development of this great event and build on the experiences of hosting the FEI Young Riders European Championships on several occasions in recent years. We are all looking forward to welcoming Europe to this most spectacular and historic part of Scotland in this all important Pre Olympic year."
The Blair Castle Horse Trials is Scotland's leading equestrian event and each year welcomes over 40,000 visitors over four days in August each year. Atholl Estates has played host to the FEI Young Rider European Championships twice in the last five years but this is the first time a senior equestrian Championship has been awarded north of the border. The competition will bring the very best competitors in the world to Scotland and, according to Event Director of the Blair Castle International Horse Trials Alec Lochore, "would bring a new realm of prestige to the venue".
Alec Lochore added: "Our aim is to work with the FEI to put on a truly memorable event at Blair in 2015. We believe this would continue the legacy of 2012 and inspire a new generation of riders; it's a tremendously exciting prospect."
Led by British Equestrian Federation Chief Executive, Andrew Finding, the five strong bid team also included The Minister for Sport Hugh Robertson, the expertise of Stuart Turner, Events Director for EventScotland; Rebecca Edser, Events Consultant at UK Sport and Alec Lochore, Event Director of the Blair Castle International Horse Trials.
Simon Morton, Director of Major Events and International Relations at UK Sport said; "The 2015 European Eventing Championships was our main hosting target in Equestrian sport after London 2012, and so we are delighted in the bid decision.
"Not only will it have been ten years since the UK last hosted this event, the 2015 Championships are particularly important as they will be a critical qualification event for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.
Chief Executive of British Eventing Mike Etherington-Smith commented; "It is fantastic news that Blair Castle has been selected to host the European Eventing Championships in 2015. A combination of the spectacular scenery, the great venue, and the enthusiasm and ability of the organisers alongside some good old fashioned Scottish hospitality will provide a fantastic competition for everyone involved including riders, owners, grooms, spectators, and of course, sponsors. We look forward to welcoming everyone to the UK for what will be a terrific week's sport."