orld No1 Scott Brash and World No2 Ludger Beerbaum have spoken about a new era of “exciting” new football-style club competitions heralding the start of a show jumping revolution in 2015. In an exclusive interview, the global stars of the sport previewed the spectacular new Club League, which will take place in conjunction with all Longines Global Champions Tour events around the world next year.
Club owners will field “star strikers” to compete on Friday competitions at each event on the calendar, including London, Shanghai, Monaco, Paris and Doha. Global Champions Tour revolutionised the sport when it was launched in 2006 and the new League will once again transform the landscape, attracting new fans around the world, media and sponsors. Prize money for the whole season next year will rocket to around €20 million in total for the thrilling club competitions and the individual competitions.
Current LGCT ranking leader Ludger Beerbaum said: “I must say this is something really new, even for me with my experience. He for sure (Scott Brash) will be part of it for many years.” Speaking about the tactics and strategy that will be involved in selecting two riders from the squad of four for the club competitions, Ludger said: “I don’t know if maybe I will end up as the team manager and not ride any more, but it is something exciting.”
Great Britain’s Olympic gold medallist Scott Brash, who won the Longines GCT Championship last year and could still win again this year, said: “I think it is going to be really exciting for the viewers and the fans, and if an owner buys a club they are obviously going to want to have the best riders and horses in their club, so it opens up the market into buying and selling riders, and I think this becomes very interesting and strategic. If our sport can keep evolving, it can be spoken about and viewed along with the likes of golf, tennis and football.”
Speaking about the dramatic showdown for the Longines Global Champions Tour Championship title in Qatar in November Ludger said: “There are no tactics really. You just have to be ready on the right day. Personally, I have to watch out that Scott is not running away!” Scott: “From my point of view, I only have six results and many others have seven, so I have to get into the second round to get points. If I don’t, I can fall down the table. I hope I’m in the top five and Ludger’s not! He’s the man to beat.”
Full details will be announced at the Longines Global Champions Tour final leg at Al Shaqab in Doha, Qatar, from 13-15 November.