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World Polo Championship

World Polo Championship
Current season or competition:
The current champion team, Chile, with President Michelle Bachelet and the trophy of the 2008 World Polo Championship
Sport Polo
Founded 1987
No. of teams 8 (Finals)
Continent International (FIP)
Most recent champion(s)  Chile

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 Argentina, and is now contested every three or four years.

Chile are the current World champions, having won the 2008 World Polo Championship Final in Mexico on 3 May 2008 with victory over Brazil, the 2004 World Champions. The next World Polo Championship is due to be contested in Argentina 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.[1]



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 Aires, Argentina. 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 Berlin, 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. Argentina, Australia, Chile, England, France, Germany, Switzerland and the United States 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, Chile, 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 Moritz, 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, California. Mr. James Easton, a Member of the International Olympic Committee, 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 Melbourne, 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, France. 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 Mexico during May 2008 and was won by Chile.


Year City
I 1987 Buenos Aires,  Argentina  Argentina  Mexico  Brazil
II 1989 Berlin,  Germany  United States  England  Argentina
III 1992 Santiago,  Chile  Argentina  Chile  England
IV 1995 Sankt Moritz,  Switzerland  Brazil  Argentina  Mexico
V 1998 Santa Barbara,  United States  Argentina  Brazil  England
VI 2001 Melbourne,  Australia  Brazil  Australia  Argentina
VII 2004 Chantilly,  France  Brazil  England  Chile
VIII 2008 Mexico City,  Mexico  Chile  Brazil  Mexico

Team ranking









3 (1995, 2001, 2004)

2 (1998, 2008) 1 (1987) -



3 (1987, 1992, 1998)

1 (1995) 2 (1989, 2001) -



1 (2008)

1 (1992) 1 (2004) 1 (1989)


 United States

1 (1989)

- - 2 (1992, 1998)
5th  England - 2 (1989, 2004) 2 (1992, 1998) 2 (1995, 2001)
6th  Mexico - 1 (1987) 2 (1995, 2008) -
7th  Australia - 1 (2001) - -
8th  Spain - - - 2 (1987, 2008)
9th  France - - - 1 (2004)

By Nation











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 United States



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 New Zealand

- - - - - - - 1ª round

 South Africa

- - - - - - - 1ª round

External links


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