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CSIO Piazza di Siena's future: “Feeling responsible for a unique site, inevitably calls for the creation of something that is equally unique”

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

World of Showjumping speaks with Diego Nepi, Event Director of the 86th edition of CSIO Piazza di Siena in Rome, about their decision to leave the FEI Nations Cup Jumping-series as well as the uniqueness of this historic event. 

Can you tell us about the decision to step out of the FEI Nations Cup Jumping-series? Why is CSIO Piazza di Siena now venturing out on its own? 

"The decision to leave the FEI circuit was not an easy one for the Organising Committee. It was thought through at length and deemed necessary. The project launched by FISE (Federazione Italiana Sport Equestri, Italian National Equestrian Federation) and CONI (Italian National Olympic Committee) last year has a very high objective: the CSIO of Rome Piazza di Siena aims to be something unique in the world calendar of equestrian sports. To reach this objective we need to work with the necessary autonomy regarding all decisions related to the event’s organisation such as competitions, prize-money, programme, sponsorships etc."

How will you secure the future of the CSIO Piazza di Siena now that it is outside the FEI Nations Cup series? Have you already found title sponsors for the main events such as the Nations Cup and the Grand Prix? Has it been difficult to find sponsors?

"The Nations Cup and the Rome Grand Prix have always been goals on the list of achievements of every rider. We aim for an efficient organisation which goes beyond expectations and which takes the needs of riders, horses, sponsors, the public and the media into account. CSIO Piazza di Siena already has long-time sponsors, who also have links with the Italian Federation of Equestrian Sport. We’ve had positive feedback about this project, which we plan to develop over the long term. It will be hard work but we are conscious that we’re working on an event that is unanimously known as a ‘special venue’."

Do you believe the decision to make the CSIO Piazza di Siena an “individual” event outside the series will make it a better event, with more character and personality – like, for example, Aachen and Spruce Meadows, both traditional shows with a long history that stand on their own two feet without being part of the Nations Cup series?

"Without doubt. The historic international horse show in Rome (CSIO) reached the milestone of 85 editions last spring and at the same time began a new and exciting chapter in its history. The project signed by CONI and FISE has been developed to emphasise a different kind of event, which apart from sporting excellence, focuses strongly on the enhancement and protection of Villa Borghese's environment. These guidelines will be given the maximum expression within the next few years."

Will we see any changes to the CSIO Piazza di Siena 2018-edition now that it is no longer a part of the Nations Cup series? 

"The technical details will be made public shortly by the Piazza di Siena Sport Director and will reveal all the new initiatives which we are planning to introduce. Prize money has been significantly increased for all competitions compared to previous editions: € 800,000 of which € 250,000 is reserved for the Nations Cup and € 350,000 for the Grand Prix."

What are the main challenges in organizing a show on a historic site like Piazza di Siena, in the middle of one of the most famous cities in the world? 

"Feeling responsible for a unique site, inevitably calls for the creation of something that is equally unique. This sense of responsibility towards the original values of Piazza di Siena in the setting of Villa Borghese, places the Organising Committee before an even greater responsibility towards the entire equestrian sports movement. We plan to meet that responsibility by creating a unique event at a global level, which matches the incomparable nature of its host site, with top prize-money, which we plan to increase over the years, a technical level of the highest standard and new “top-level” partners who have chosen to support the Organising Committee in this new, extraordinary adventure. We aim to achieve these objects by engaging top-level professionals with exceptional skills."

How many big world-class sporting events are held in Rome each year, comparable to the size and quality of CSIO Piazza di Siena? 

"A large number ... The Foro Italico complex, the headquarters of the Italian National Olympic Committee and seat of the Olympic Stadium, is the beating heart of international sport in Rome. Footballing events, rugby’s Six Nations, the Golden Gala athletics championship and the tennis tournament Internazionali BNL d'Italia are all held at the Foro Italico."

Do you believe the event will maintain its popularity and standing on the showjumping circuit also in the future? 

"A project of this nature could never have been developed if we were not more than confident that this would be the case."


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