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The World Polo Championship is a polo competition between countries. The event is organised by the sport's governing body, the Federation of International Polo (FIP), and is contested by the men's national teams. The inaugural tournament was held in 1987, hosted by Argentinamarker, and is now contested every three or four years.

Chilemarker are the current World champions, having won the 2008 World Polo Championship Final in Mexicomarker on 3 May 2008 with victory over Brazilmarker, the 2004 World Champions. The next World Polo Championship is due to be contested in Brazil in 2011.

The participating teams must have a handicap up to 14 goals. It's for this reason that, unlike other sports, the best players can't play the World Polo Championship.


In the early 1980’s, motivated by a desire to broaden the scope of international polo, as well as to restore the sport’s Olympic status, Marcos Uranga, then President of the Argentine Polo Association, proposed that an international organization be formed among the polo playing countries of the world. The initial meetings took place in Buenos Aires, and by April 1982, the Federation of International Polo, quickly known as “FIP,” was created. FIP’s first President was Marcos Uranga.

Buenos Aires 1987

To that end, Mr. Uranga spearheaded the movement for a World Championship and scheduled the first for April 1987 in Buenos Airesmarker, Argentinamarker. Aware of the relative difficulty of fielding high-goal teams worldwide, the early FIP organizers wisely decided to limit competition to teams rated 10 to 14 goals. And, in an attempt to nullify the factor of the horses, they devised the then-revolutionary idea of split strings of horses - assigning matched strings of 28 horses to each team by the luck of the draw.

Berlin 1989

In 1989, the second FIP World Championship was played in Berlinmarker, at Maifeld, the very stadium that had been the site of polo’s last appearance in the Olympic Games. The sport had come full-circle, and it underlined the growing influence of FIP in the world polo community. Argentinamarker, Australia, Chilemarker, Englandmarker, Francemarker, Germanymarker, Switzerlandmarker and the United Statesmarker advanced to the playoffs. But this time there was a surprise: Argentina failed to make the finals. A talented U.S. team beat England by one goal for a 7-6 final score. The resulting publicity raised the visibility of FIP among U.S. polo players.

Santiago 1992

FIP World Championship III was played in Santiago, Chilemarker, in 1992. Argentina made it “back to back” through the regionals, and knocked off team after team until they wound up in the finals. There they outscored the host country 12-7 for their second World Championship. The U.S. had to be content with fourth place behind England.

Saint Moritz 1995

In 1995, the fourth World Championship was held in Saint Moritzmarker, Switzerland. Brazil fought its way gamely through the early rounds to meet Argentina in the final. Now it was Brazil’s turn for triumph. They pulled out an exciting win 11-10 to assume the mantle of World Polo Champions.

Since 1993 MIchael Schultz-Tholen, then the FIP delegate to the International Olympic Committee, arranged numerous meetings with IOC representatives including the President of the International Olympic Committee Mr.Juan Antonio Samaranch. Finally at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games, the General Assembly of the International Olympic Committee granted the status of an IOC Recognized Sport and accepted the Federation of International Polo as the worldwide governing body for the sport of polo. This decision was confirmed ("outright recognition") two years later.

Santa Barbara 1998

In 1998, the fifth World Championship was held at the Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club in Santa Barbara, Californiamarker. Mr. James Easton, a Member of the International Olympic Committeemarker, presented Argentina, the winning team, with a history-making Olympic trophy. This was the first time in 62 years that the winning team of an international polo tournament was so honored.

Melbourne 2001

The FIP World Championship VI held in Melbournemarker, Australia in 2001 featured eight national teams that qualified through a demanding and highly competitive zone playoff system, which included 24 country teams participating worldwide. Brazil narrowly defeated Australia by one goal (Brazil 10, Australia 9) in an exciting tournament that any of the eight finalists could have won.

Chantilly 2004

In 2004, the Sixth World Championship was held in Chantilly, Francemarker. The tournament included eight teams. The qualifying rounds included 28 countries competing. All the games were very competitive. Brazil was not ready to give the title and defeated England in the final game (10 -9) in sudden death.

Mexico 2008

The eighth edition of the World Polo Championship took place in Mexicomarker during May 2008 and was won by Chilemarker.


Year City
I 1987 Buenos Airesmarker,
II 1989 Berlinmarker,
III 1992 Santiagomarker,
IV 1995 Sankt Moritzmarker,
V 1998 Santa Barbaramarker,
VI 2001 Melbournemarker,
VII 2004 Chantilly,
VIII 2008 Mexico Citymarker,

Team ranking

Pos. Team Champion Runners-up Third Fourth
1st 3 (1995, 2001, 2004) 2 (1998, 2008) 1 (1987) -
2nd 3 (1987, 1992, 1998) 1 (1995) 2 (1989, 2001) -
3rd 1 (2008) 1 (1992) 1 (2004) 1 (1989)
4th 1 (1989) - - 2 (1992, 1998)
5th - 2 (1989, 2004) 2 (1992, 1998) 2 (1995, 2001)
6th - 1 (1987) 2 (1995, 2008) -
7th - 1 (2001) - -
8th - - - 2 (1987, 2008)
9th - - - 1 (2004)

By Nation

Selección 1987 1989 1992 1995 1998 2001 2004 2008
- - 1st 2nd 1st 1st 2nd
1st 1st 2nd 1st 1ª round -
- 2nd - - - 1st
- 1st - 1ª round 1ª round -
- 2nd 2nd 1ª round
2nd - 1ª round - - 1ª round
1ª round - - 1ª round 2nd 1ª round -
- - - - - -
- 1ª round - - - - -
- 1ª round - 1ª round - - - -
- - 1ª round - 1ª round - - -
- - - 1ª round - 1ª round - -
- - - - - 1ª round - 1ª round
- 1ª round - - - - - -
- - - - - 1ª round - -
- - - - - - 1ª round -
- - - - - - - 1ª round
- - - - - - - 1ª round

External links


  1. Diario el Mercurio, 4 de mayo de 2008 (Spanish)

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