Planned as a separate but concurrently run arm of the Global Champions Tour, the GCL will now go ahead as a team based league in 2016, complete with team owners, rider squads, and two-riders from each team competing at every event for prize money to the tune of €7,500,000 for the season.
In June, the GCL had filed a complaint and a request for interim measures with the BCA in Brussels alleging the breach by the FEI of European Union competition law by using its rules to prevent riders from competing in events not approved by the FEI. In its interim measures ruling, the BCA ordered the FEI to suspend its exclusivity clause with regard to the Global Champions League pending the investigation into the GCL’s complaint.
What is the Global Champions League?
The GCL will put team owners in charge of recruiting a squad of riders, including two from the top 30 world rankings of whom will compete in each GCL event. Two round format, 15 teams in the first round, 8 teams in the second, penalties and time will count. The GCL will be contested at the 1.55m level and will be held on the Friday of each LGCT stage.
But what it will do is draw new attention to the sport, Tops and his partners hope. They wished to organize a show jumping format that would appeal to more mainstream fans and be easy to follow throughout a season. The international nature of show jumping can make it difficult to understand for the casual follower, and the GCL hopes to give new fans an engaging concept to latch on to.
The announcement for the green light for GCL team competitions came just ahead of the 12th leg of the Longines Global Champions Tour in Valkenswaard, where the new venue surrounding Tops International Arena will be unveiled and a special team competition, marking the 10th anniversary of the circuit, will take place on Friday 14th of August. Riders such as Eric Lamaze, Ludger Beerbaum, Meredith Michaels Beerbaum, Lauren Hough and Kevin Staut. are confirmed to participate in the team competition. The jaw dropping new facility at Stal Tops (pictured at top) ups the ante for the highly anticipated 12th stop of the 2015 LGCT. Twenty-eight of the world’s top 30 show jumping riders are slated to attend.