The trusted Costa del Sol Equestrian Tour for show jumpers in Mijas, Spain, cannot take place in 2018. The events in Spring and Autumn, which offered rankings show jumping competitions and youngster tours each week across a period of one to two months, have not been authorized by the town of Mijas. Behind the decision by the municipality not to approve the events lie various differing views regarding the use of the site.
Juan Carlos Maldonado, the new mayor of Mijas, a town with a population of 80,000, would like the site, which incorporates a race track built more than 40 years ago, to be returned to the sport of racing. But this is not the only possible use being mooted. There is also the possibility of the site area being sold. Investors have already shown interest in using the area in question on the edge of Mijas for other purposes. Rumours about shopping centres, hotels and sports arenas have already started to circulate.
Several years ago, a contract for over 20 years was agreed with the town, stating the site should be used for equestrian sport. This contract is still a long way off expiry, and it was the basis for millions of euros’ worth of investment by owners Manuel Blazquez – father and son. Multiple discussions have already been held with the town and the mayor but they have proved fruitless. Now the Spanish judiciary must make a decision on the issue. If no agreement can be reached regarding the future use of the site, costs in their millions may be incurred by the municipality to offset the costs and investments from the 20 year contract. In addition, the international reputation of the town of Mijas as a partner for commercial and private sector initiatives is being put in jeopardy by the dispute.
Alexandro Barreras, Manager of the Costa del Sol Equestrian Tour and initiator also of the tours in Vejer de la Frontera and Oliva Nova: “We are really disappointed. Legal proceedings will doubtless take many years.”