Nations Cup line-up confirmed for Europe
The allocation of teams to Europe Division 1 and Europe Division 2 events of the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup Jumping 2014 series has been confirmed.
In Europe Division 1, a total of 10 nations will be chasing points and each team must compete at four of the eight events to be eligible for the Final which will take place in Barcelona, Spain from October 9 to 12.
After their superb victory at the inaugural Furusiyya Final last September, defending champions France will be joined by Belgium, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland at the opening leg of competition at Lummen, Belgium on Friday May 2. The French will then be back in action on home ground at La Baule two weeks later on Friday May 16 where they will again be joined by Belgium, Spain and Switzerland along with Ireland.
To complete a busy May for the French, they will also line up the following week on Friday May 23 in the third leg at Rome's Piazza di Siena in Italy, where the British, Dutch, German and Ukrainian teams will make their debut for the season.
Seven days later on Friday May 30 at St Gallen, host nation Switzerland will battle it out with Belgium, Spain, Sweden and Ukraine, before the French return for the last time on Friday June 20 in Rotterdam, where they will be joined by their Dutch hosts, the Irish, Swiss and German teams.
With just three legs left to go, the Swedish team will play host at Falsterbo where Great Britain, the Netherlands, Spain and Ukraine will also be in action, before the British will be joined on home turf at Hickstead on Friday August 1 by the Netherlands along with Belgium, Germany, and Ireland.
The last qualifying leg will be staged in Ireland a week later on Friday August 8 and see the Irish take on Germany, Great Britain, Sweden and Ukraine in Dublin. At the end of this qualifying round the top seven teams from Europe Division 1 will be eligible to compete in the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup 2014 Final.
In Europe Division 2, a total of 15 nations will be in the hunt for points during the eight legs which kicks off in Austria at Linz on Friday May 9. Here the host country will take on Italy, Finland, Poland, Croatia, Hungary, Russia and Slovakia.
Just three teams will fight it out the following week in Copenhagen where hosts Denmark will be challenged by Norway and Poland on Friday May 16. The competition will be reduced further a fortnight later on Friday May 30 in Portugal where the hosts will have only the Italians for company and competition in Lisbon.
A week later at Sopot in Poland eight countries will feature where the hosts will line out for a big clash alongside Norway, Denmark, Finland, Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia and Turkey. And there will be nine nations in contention on Friday July 4 in Budapest, where the Hungarian hosts will encounter fierce opposition from Austria, Norway, Denmark, Croatia, Czech Republic, Greece, Slovakia and Turkey.
Austria and Norway along with Italy and Portugal will all travel to Gijon, Spain to do battle on Friday August 1, before the competition is expected to be intense by the time eight nations line out at the penultimate qualifier in Bratislava a week later on Friday August 8. Hosts Slovakia, Austria, Finland, Croatia, Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary and Turkey will all be trying to capture those elusive points here before it is onto the last leg of Europe Division 2 at Arezzo in Italy for the CSIO of San Marino on Friday September 19. Here, eight teams will line out for this one final clash, and with each country only able to compete at four of the eight events, Slovenia has elected to line out just once at this last qualifying leg alongside Italy, Finland, Denmark, Poland, Croatia, Greece and Turkey. The upshot from this final event will see just two teams from European Division 2 qualify for the 2014 Final.
Ironically with all this to look forward to, the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup Jumping 2014 series has already begun with the single qualifying event for the Middle East region taking place last week at Al Ain (UAE). Ukraine ran out winners with Qatar and Saudi Arabia finishing second and third respectively and also qualifying for the Final later in the year.
The next leg of the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup Jumping 2014 series takes place on Friday February 28 in Wellington, Florida, USA, which will be the first of three competitions in the North America, Central America and Caribbean region.