The 12 teams for the inaugural Global Champions League (GCL) season have been announced, heralding the start of a new era in show jumping.
The sport’s top riders are lined up for the unique new team-based show jumping League, which kicks off on Sunday, April 10th in Miami Beach, Florida, USA. Riders from different countries will be united on teams like never before in the history of show jumping.
A star-studded list of athletes are confirmed on team rosters including Scott Brash, Kent Farrington, Bertram Allen, Rolf-Göran Bengtsson, John Whitaker, Marco Kutscher, Edwina Tops-Alexander, Ben Maher, Georgina Bloomberg, Lauren Hough, Maikel van der Vleuten, Sheikh Ali Al Thani, Olivier Philippaerts, Alvaro de Miranda, Roger-Yves Bost, Jessica Springsteen, Rodrigo Pessoa, Laura Kraut, Harrie Smolders and Gregory Wathelet.
The innovative new format, launching in an Olympic year, will lead to tactical battles and fierce rivalries, elevating the experience for fans as the competitions are played out in 15 spectacular venues worldwide.
Teams will have up to five riders, including a maximum of two Top 30 ranked athletes for the 1.50m /1.55m GCL team competition. At least one rider will be under 25 years of age as GCL focuses on developing the young talent of the future. It will be an important opportunity for young riders to train and compete alongside the best in the world. Two riders will be selected to compete at each event on the circuit, which follows the calendar of the established Longines Global Champions Tour.
The new multi-national squads of riders, including Scott Brash and Kent Farrington on a team together, will be paired for the first time ever as they depend on each other for sporting glory and a share of the GCL €7.5 million prize money. Team selection decisions will be critical as Team Managers select riders and horses to maximize the best performance and results at each event through the season.
All 12 teams will start in the first round of the new competition and their combined score on penalties and time will determine whether they go through to the second round. The eight best teams will go through to the second round. Suspense and drama will be high as the first riders of each team perform and are then followed by the second riders of each team with mounting tension as they chase the scores and times to beat.
The new concept will create more options and opportunities for riders and will enhance the way fans enjoy and experience show jumping as they identify with the new-style team competition format. Fans will be able to follow their team and favorite riders and horses on TV, online and live at events as the competition intensifies.
The high stakes decisions of the Team Managers, the master tacticians, will be closely followed as they decide which horses will be best suited to different arenas and conditions such as sand or grass, jumping in daylight or at night under floodlights.
Teams are named after the spectacular global destinations of the Tour and League calendar and are listed below. Each Team has its own identity with specially created names and logos:
Jessica Mendoza (U25)
Audrey Coulter (U25)
Jos Verlooy (U25)
Madrid In Motion
Alvaro de Miranda
Athina Onassis de Miranda
Marta Ortega Perez
Gonzalo Anon Suarez (U25)
Jessica Springsteen (U25)
Janne Friederike Meyer
Alexandra Thornton (U25)
Kevin Jochems (U25)
Maikel van der Vleuten
Leopold van Asten
Lisa Nooren (U25)
Olivier Philippaerts (U25)
Nicola Philippaerts (U25)
Titouan Schumacher (U25)
Pilar Cordon Muro
Philip Houston (U25)
Bertram Allen (U25)
Emily Moffitt (U25)
Jack Hardin Towell
Emma Heise (U25)
Paris Sellon (U25)
Emanuel Andrade (U25)
Doha Fursan Qatar
Sheikh Ali Al Thani
Bassem Hassan Mohammed
Ali Al Rumaihi
Hamad Al Attiyah (U25)
GCL Co-Founders Jan Tops and Frank McCourt predict the new team competitions will transform show jumping and evolve the sport for the modern era benefitting fans, sponsors, media and all stakeholders.
Tops, who is Co-Founder of Global Champions League and Founder and President of Longines Global Champions Tour, said, “this is a key strategic step forward in the evolution of our sport. It will transform the experience for millions of fans around the world as they identify with the ups and downs of their favorite riders and horses.
“We will see some extraordinary battles opening up as the teams go through the GCL season and tactics and selection decisions become ever critical. We are pleased to continue in a pioneering spirit to safeguard the future of show jumping in the modern era and to always ensure top sport and the welfare of the horse.”
McCourt, Jr. Co-Founder Global Champions League and Chairman and CEO of McCourt Global, said: “Against the backdrop of the world’s most exciting destinations, this innovative competition will take show jumping to unprecedented heights as it draws new fans, new athletes, and new sponsors from across the globe. Thanks to its unique format, the Global Champions League will provide riders with more opportunities to compete at the highest levels against the very best in the sport.
“It creates an unparalleled environment for the development of young riders and promising horses as they train and compete alongside the greatest names in show jumping. I have no doubt the Global Champions League will be the spark that ignites show jumping’s global growth and long-term success.”
-Source: Global Champions League