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Aachen Renews Sponsor Deal with Deutsche Bank, Rejects FEI Drug Policy as Not Tough Enough

Frank Kemperman, Nicole Uphoff-Selke and Michael Mronz.

Frank Kemperman, Nicole Uphoff-Selke with Rembrandt's saddle, and Michael Mronz.

AACHEN, Germany, Nov. 24–Deutsche Bank has renewed as the main sponsor of the World Equestrian Festival CHIO in Aachen for three more years that will extend its partnership to 55 years.

The renewal of the contract, Michael Mronz, General Manager of the Aachener Reitturnier GmbH said, places Aachen at the highest level of the sport as demonstrated by the broadcast of its competitions in 143 nations.

Deutsche Bank’s commitment to dressage was highlighted, especially its role as patron of Aachen’s unique dressage stadium as well as being the title sponsor of the Deutsche Bank Prize, the highest prize money in the world.

“Dressage sport shows passion and precision in an exceptional union,” said Christofer Habig, Deutsche Bank Global Head of Brand Communications & Corporate Citizenship. “This is what we stand for as the brand Deutsche Bank, and this is what has tied us to the CHIO Aachen for more than 50 years.”

The Aachen organizers disclosed the result of a survey conducted by the German University of Sport, Cologne that showed that 89 per cent of the visitors to the CHIO “demand that the show organizers take a firm stand” in the debate over drug use.

“We do not want to have unsound or injured horses in our sport,” Mronz said. “The CHIO Aachen 2010 will not be carried out on the basis of the current FEI regulations, but according to the ethics of clean sport.”

The recent International Equestrian Federation (FEI) General Assembly in Copenhagen permitted the use of several substances for the treatment of horses shortly before or during an event.

Frank Kemperman, chairman of the Managing Board of the Aachen-Laurensberger Rennverein e.V. (ALRV) and chairman of the FEI’s Dressage Committe, said: “The FEI’s decision is a contradiction to our ideal of the sport.” Kemperman vehemently opposed the new regulations.

The Aachen organization enforced the strictest rules ever imposed at a horse show against use of illegal drugs including application of digitial imaging at the CHIO, regarded as the world’s premier equestrian event, in 2009. The measures were extensively promoted. Not a single positive drug test was reported.

The survey also showed that CHIO Aachen attracts a growing number of new customers with the average visitor traveling further than ever before–147 kilometers (91 miles)–to attend the CHIO compared with 98km (60 miles) in 2001.

One of the most significant findings was that the average age of visitors has decreased to 42.4 years from from 44 years in 2007, and that Aachen has become a family festival with the size of the average group being 4,2 persons.

“The survey also contains information on the income of the visitors, and shows that the tournament has never been an elitist event, but a festival for everybody due to the moderate ticket prizes,” it said.

The CHIO-Museum accepted a new exhibit. Nicole Uphoff-Selke, four times Olympic Dressage Champion and two-time winner of Aachen, donated the saddle from Rembrandt, her legendary horse.

“It is a saddle with a long history – and I cannot imagine a better place for it than the CHIO museum,” she said.

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