Dec 20, 2021 3:48 PM
Every year the week before the Argentine Open Final, the Federation of International Polo holds their annual General Assembly in Buenos Aires, Argentina. During the meeting the United States Polo Association, represented by COO/In-House Counsel, Chris Green, and Executive Director of Services, Carlucho Arellano, presented the USPA’s plans for the FIP World Polo Championship that will take place next year in Florida.
Since 1987, the FIP World Championship has taken place once every three years in a different location around the world. The event was supposed to take place this year in California but was postponed and changed venue due to the pandemic. Held as a 10- to 14-goal tournament, it is competitive, and horses are provided by the host and pooled among participating nations to give teams equal conditions. In an unprecedented partnership, the USPA has teamed up with J5 Equestrian and will provide 176 horses, many of which played in the Argentine high-goal season.
What can you tell us about the FIP World Polo Championship that will take place at International Polo Club Palm Beach (IPC) and Valiente Polo Farm next year?
Carlucho: "We can’t say enough about how thrilled we are to be hosting it and bringing the best of what we have to the world of polo. We are really grateful to have this opportunity, and I can't speak enough to the excitement surrounding our partnership with J5 Equestrian and Valiente, as both venue and equestrian partners. Plus, IPC is a great international venue itself which has been hosting the U.S. Open Polo Championship® for several years and the GAUNTLET OF POLO®. Those two venues and the horses are the highlight of it all."
Carlucho, during the meeting you spoke about the nearly 200 horses J5 Equestrian will provide for the tournament.
"J5 Equestrian has a special partnership with Adolfo Cambiaso and La Dolfina, they co-own several horses, they are also partners in breeding and training—so we shot for the best! It was very difficult to get it, but thanks to Chris [Green] we were able to put it all together and are really excited about the partnership."
"We believe the best way of organizing it is to have a single operation due to the number of details and management it takes to get that number of horses at a location. Not having several horse providers and several different contractors and just relying on one is certainly going to be the most efficient. For example, consider the veterinarians, the blacksmiths, the trainers, the grooms, the trailers. Everything coming from one place is going to help make this as swift as possible.
I thank the good Lord that Chris [Green] joined the USPA this year, he really made it possible to seal the deal. He is our COO and In-House Counsel and he brought it all together and I would truly like to thank him."
The United States is known as a country that aims for perfection and the FIP World Polo Championship will be no exception.
Carlucho: "We really want to fulfill all the expectations and hopefully surpass them. We are taking it very seriously and are grateful to have it. We are working day and night, we haven’t stopped working on it."
Chris, it will be your first tournament since you came to work for the USPA. How do you feel about this?
Chris: "We have the GAUNTLET this spring, so I will have the opportunity to gain valuable knowledge and experience before moving into FIP. We are very excited and looking forward to it. We have a really good working relationship with Rob Jornayvaz at J5 Equestrian and we’ve concluded the arrangement for the horses and are working on the arrangement for the venue."
Speaking about the GAUNTLET OF POLO®, what can you tell us about the event?
Chris: "This will be the first year where teams can enter individual tournaments in the GAUNTLET without playing all three and we have a lot of interest in teams playing the three tournaments but also a number of additional teams that have paid deposits to play the U.S. Open Polo Championship®."
Hope Arellano* had a great Women's Argentine Open. What can you tell us about women's polo?
Carlucho: "I'm personally very excited about Hope, she is my niece and I think she is playing great. She is so professional, just as a polo player, not specifically a woman polo player, rather, just as a player. She knows where to go to play the best polo, and that’s where she goes, and she is really striving to be the best. It's exciting both in Argentina and the United States the amount of movement behind women’s polo. Almost half of our membership are women today."
What have you been doing in Argentina so far?
Chris: "It’s my first time in Argentina, so Carlucho [Arellano] has been showing me around, we’ve been eating a lot of Argentinian beef and having a good time. We’ve been to Palermo to meetings for the International Rules Committee, too. We also went to the AAP fields and, of course, to see the Open. I'll be heading home after the Argentine Open Final as we have our Umpires training camp at Eldorado Polo Club, in Indio, California. 24 of the USPA professional Umpires will be there and it will last three days. We will talk about the rules, the standards of enforcement and conflict resolution, and preparation for umpires."
*Hope Arellano is an Active Member of Team USPA. Team USPA is a USPA program designed to enhance and grow the sport of polo in the United States by identifying young, talented American players and providing mentored training and playing opportunities leading to a pool of higher rated amateur and pro players and the resultant giveback to the sport of polo.
Effective Date: Saturday, May 16, 2020
The suspension of USPA Tournaments and Events will be lifted for USPA Member Clubs in locales where hosting polo matches and tournaments is permitted under applicable state and local laws, executive orders and similar decrees. The USPA Member Clubs in these locales are encouraged to follow all such requirements of their state and local authorities with respect to polo operations. In addition, we also encourage all USPA Member Clubs to take the precautions recommended by the CDC. We are preparing a detailed list of best practices for USPA Member Clubs as they return to hosting USPA Tournaments and Events and plan to circulate these guidelines within the next week. We will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation closely and will notify you if we determine a different course of action is necessary.Read More