The Hublot Polo Gold Cup Gstaad has to be cancelled again this year due to the corona pandemic. Nevertheless, the organisers do not expect negative consequences for the tournament.
4 teams, 16 players, 120 horses and over 6000 spectators: the Hublot Polo Gold Cup Gstaad has been one of the sporting highlights on the Saanenland agenda for around a quarter of a century. But the 25th edition, of all things, is not happening – not yet. After it had to be cancelled in 2020, the tournament cannot take place this year either. "We waited until the last moment to decide whether we could organise our tournament, which was to take place from 19 to 22 August, at considerable expense," says Pierre E. Genecand, president of Polo Gstaad.
Expensive preparation of the terrain
The terrain of the polo tournament is unplayable at the moment, the Gstaad Polo Club informed upon request. After the field remained unused and unprepared last year, it showed considerable damage that poses a danger for horses and riders. "You could currently ride motocross or plant potatoes on this ground, but not play polo," says Pierre E. Genecand humorously. On a more serious note, he explains: "We had to decide by mid-May whether to prepare the terrain at great expense without knowing if the tournament can take place. We couldn't take that risk."
Measures not reasonable
The current measures to curb the corona pandemic don’t allow for the organization of the polo tournament. Despite a "covid version" of the tournament, the cantonal authorities would have severely restricted the reception facilities for guests.
The adapted proposal only admitted guests of the polo partners to limit the number of spectators and to enable a tracking system. But the authorities would have prohibited the entire hospitality for guests. "It was unthinkable to accommodate our guests in small tents and ask them to stay strictly in their seats, with no food and drinks options, while they spend an entire day next to the polo field," the tournament director states.
The current measures and first steps to allow sporting events are tailored to stadium sports like football or hockey and cannot be implemented at an event like the polo. In addition, the global situation remains uncertain, a crucial factor with players coming from Argentina and Italy: "Imagine if these countries close their borders in August, that would be a disaster for us."
All these factors have led to the cancellation of the tournament. "This is a very sad decision for us and the whole region. We regret this cancellation very much," Genecand said.
No negative consequences
The fact that the 25th edition of the Hublot Polo Gold Cup Gstaad has now had to be cancelled for the second time has no financial consequences for the tournament, Pierre E. Genecand assures. Neither partners nor sponsors will be dropping out because of this. On the contrary, all of them have already confirmed their participation next year.
The organisers hope that players and spectators will meet again from 18 to 21 August 2022 – unless the coronavirus throws a third spanner in the works.
Based on AvS/Kerem S. Maurer