Italians invited to stage World Games

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The Independent Online
The Italian Equestrian Federation is hoping to stage next year's World Equestrian Games, although no firm decision will be made until the end of the month.

The invitation to host the Games was received on Tuesday evening, shortly after the announcement that Ireland had finally abandoned the struggle to fund the big event which was due to be held in County Kildare next summer.

In a meeting yesterday morning, the Italians agreed to postpone their decision until after 30 July when Bo Helander, secretary general of the International Equestrian Federation, will be in Rome for further discussions. If an agreement is reached, the Games will be split between two beautiful venues: the Piazza di Siena in the heart of Rome and Pratoni del Vivaro some 20 miles south. Both were used for the equestrian events at the 1960 Olympic Games.

Although it is short notice, the Italians have the great advantage of two long-established showgrounds where at least one major event is held each year. The Piazza di Siena is the home of Rome's annual Nations' Cup meeting and an annual three-day event takes place at Pratoni del Vivaro, which was the venue for the 1995 European Open Championships.