Rome was a great success even though the Italians only had a year in which to prepare after the Dublin bid fell through due to bad luck and organisational problems. For a second time, the original successful bidder had failed to live up to the hype despite promising initial plans.
The abandonment of the project was dramatic as Ireland is a country with a very thoroughly developed horse tradition. In this difficult situation the FEI Executive Board was very happy that several countries showed an interest in taking on the organisation for the 1998 FEI World Equestrian Games™ (WEG) in spite of the short notice. In a desperate effort to pick up the pieces, the FEI examined the alternatives of Aachen and Rome and, opting for the latter, were rewarded with nothing short of a miracle. Some four months after the withdrawal of Dublin, Rome was chosen as the official venue for the 1998 Games. Particular credit goes to the Italian NF President Cesare Croce, who showed much courage in taking on the project.
If, as FEI President Prince Philip suggested in 1991, three years does not allow a sufficient preparation period to organise a colossal event such as the FEI World Equestrian Games™, then how on earth did the Italians manage to do it in a year? Sheer determination and the will to give it their best shot was the key - and against all odds the WEG in Rome in 1998 was nothing short of a triumph. Similarly to Stockholm and The Hague, the sport in Rome was excellent. Financial aspects were skilfully handled mainly by Andrea Riffeser of Monrif Group, an important Italian publishing company; as far as can be ascertained, all WEG expenses were covered.
For several years equestrian sport had had problems with TV coverage due to an unsatisfactory contract between the FEI and the German TV channel DSF which had replaced the European Broadcasting Union (EBU). In 1997 it finally became possible for the FEI to contract out. Following this decision, the FEI succeeded in restoring cooperation with the EBU, thus resulting in an improved TV situation for the 1998 WEG.