POLO+10: Why did the Polo Club du Domain de Chantilly handed in its candidature for the hosting of the Polo European Championship?
Benoît Perrier: The Polo Club Chantilly and its founder Patrick Guerrand-Hermès held the World Championship of the Federation of International Polo (FIP) in 2004. Since the World Championship, we have not had any FIP-tournament in Chantilly. Now we are ready to welcome teams and visitors from all Europe. We are looking forward to hold a grand FIP-tournament and the time has come to go for it.
POLO+10: What do you think about the candidature process?
Perrier: In October 2013, our President Duc de Noailles and our committee decided in favour of the application and finally we proceeded with it in November. In January, the FIP took its decision to consider Chantilly for hosting the European Championship 2014. Over all, everything happened very quickly.
POLO+10: How many teams, players and horses will take part in the European Championship in Chantilly?
Perrier: We are considering eight teams; the final decision will be taken after the deadline in mid-April. England, Switzerland, France and Germany definitely take part. Holland, Belgium and Ireland take it into consideration. There is no final confirmation of Spain and Portugal. We will have the complete line-up by the end of April. One advice for all teams and players: September is peak-season in Chantilly, please book your hotels now! (laughs)
POLO+10: How do you prepare the European Championship in Chantilly?
Perrier: The prearrangement is in progress. The playing fields are in top condition all year round and don’t afford further maintenance. In August, we will have a break regarding our playing activities, so we can prepare everything for the Championship. The September is the most important month of the year. Soon we are beginning to invite 25 polo players, yet a lot of them have announced to assist us for the holding of the European Championship. This is essential for us and shows the spirit and the atmosphere here in our Polo Club Chantilly. The European Championship will be part of our social club life.
POLO+10: Will there take place further tournaments in September apart from the European Championship?
Perrier: Yes, as every time there will be the French Open (+16) and the Ladies French Open. We are grateful for the support of Tom Tailor as our sponsor for the French Open. Two further tournaments regarding the classifications 6-8 and 0-4 will be held that month as well. We will dispose of additional stables, that’s routine in Chantilly. Next September we will host round about 800 horses. The assisting team for the horses is almost complete. We have to employ some new staff, considering organizational matters, guest service, sponsors and players and all the festivities along the European Championship.
POLO+10: Chantilly is known worldwide as an excellent host for large polo tournaments. Let’s talk about your experiences. What’s about the infrastructure facilities in Chantilly?
Perrier: The Polo Club du Domaine de Chantilly is one of the three most important polo clubs in Europe and in our opinion it’s the most beautiful of all with the castle, the racetrack, 3000 horses racing, the horse museum and the forest. The Club has nine high quality playing fields and is located in a 220-hectare size area, surrounding an estate of the 18th century. The Club is home for the best French polo players and several young talents. Also the current best professional polo player, Brieuc Rigaux , a 5-goaler, has started his career here in Chantilly.
POLO+10: As an organizer of the games, what do you wish for the European Championship 2014?
Perrier: A good Championship stands for perfect playing fields, perfect polo and a perfect organization and side program. Additionally to the matches in Chantilly will take place festivities in Paris and an Exhibition Match during the World Equestrian Games in Deauville in the first week of September. I wish for a fantastic and fair polo tournament and hope that all guests will spend unforgettable moments in Chantilly.