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World Polo Championship
Current season, competition or edition:
Current sports event 2022 World Polo Championship
No. of teams8 (Finals)
ContinentInternational (FIP)
Most recent
 Spain (1st title)
Most titles Argentina (5 titles)

The World Polo Championship is a polo (Horse Polo) competition between countries (Up to 2022, only for men). The event is organised by the sport's governing body, the Federation of International Polo (FIP), and is contested by the national teams. There is no restriction on the gender of the players. The inaugural tournament was held in 1987, hosted by Argentina, and is now contested every three or four years.

The participating teams must have a handicap up to 14 goals. It's for this reason that, unlike other sports, the best players cannot play the World Polo Championship.[1]


In the early 1980s, 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.

To that end, Mr. Uranga spearheaded the movement for a World Championship and scheduled the first for April 1987 in the Campo Argentino de Polo 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.

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 U.S. team players were: Horton Schwartz, Julio Arellano, Charley Bostwick and John Wigdahl who scored the winning goal in the sixth chukker. The resulting publicity raised the visibility of FIP among U.S. polo players.

World Polo Championship – Argentina 2011
World Polo Championship – Argentina 2011

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

The ninth edition of the World Polo Championship took place in San Luis Province, Argentina during October 2011 and was won by Argentina. Brazil being second, and Italy took the third place after defeating England. It was the first time in World Polo Championship for Italy to achieve a podium.

The tenth edition of the World Polo Championship took place in Santiago, Chile during march and April 2015 and was won by the host, beating the United States in the final.


Number Year Host Champion 2nd 3rd
1 1987 Buenos Aires,  Argentina  Argentina  Mexico  Brazil
2 1989 Berlin,  Germany  United States  England  Argentina
3 1992 Santiago,  Chile  Argentina  Chile  England
4 1995 Sankt Moritz,  Switzerland  Brazil  Argentina  Mexico
5 1998 Santa Barbara,  United States  Argentina  Brazil  England
6 2001 Melbourne,  Australia  Brazil  Australia  Argentina
7 2004 Chantilly,  France  Brazil  England  Chile
8 2008 Mexico City,  Mexico  Chile  Brazil  Mexico
9 2011 Estancia Grande (San Luis) [es],  Argentina  Argentina  Brazil  Italy
10 2015 Santiago,  Chile  Chile  United States  Brazil
11 2017 Sydney,  Australia  Argentina  Chile  England
12 2022 Wellington,  United States [2][3]  Spain  United States  Uruguay

Medals (1987–2022)

1 Argentina5128
2 Brazil3328
3 Chile2215
4 United States1203
5 Spain1001
6 England0235
7 Mexico0123
8 Australia0101
9 Italy0011
Totals (10 entries)12121236


Pos. Team Champion Runners-up Third Fourth
1st  Argentina 5 (1987, 1992, 1998, 2011, 2017) 1 (1995) 2 (1989, 2001) 1 (2022)
2nd  Brazil 3 (1995, 2001, 2004) 3 (1998, 2008, 2011) 2 (1987, 2015)
3rd  Chile 2 (2008, 2015) 2 (1992, 2017) 1 (2004) 1 (1989)
4th  United States 1 (1989) 2 (2015, 2022) 3 (1992, 1998, 2017)
5th  Spain 1 (2022) 2 (1987, 2008)
6th  England 2 (1989, 2004) 3 (1992, 1998, 2017) 4 (1995, 2001, 2011, 2015)
7th  Mexico 1 (1987) 2 (1995, 2008)
8th  Australia 1 (2001)
9th  Italy 1 (2011)
10th  Uruguay 1 (2022)
11th  France 1 (2004)


Country 1987 1989 1992 1995 1998 2001 2004 2008 2011 2015 2017 2022
 Argentina 1st 3rd 1st 2nd 1st 3rd P. round 1st P. round 1st
 Brazil 3rd 1st 2nd 1st 1st 2nd 2nd 3rd -
 Chile 4th 2nd 3rd 1st P. round 1st 2nd
 United States 1st 4th 4th P. round P. round P. round 2nd 4th
 England 2nd 3rd 4th 3rd 4th 2nd P. round 4th 4th 3rd
 Mexico 2nd P. round 3rd 1st round 3rd P. round -
 Australia 5th P. round P. round 2nd 1st round P. round P. round
 Italy P. round 3rd -
 Spain 4th 4th P. round
 France P. round 4th -
 India P. round P. round P. round P. round
 Pakistan P. round P. round P. round -
 New Zealand P. round P. round
 Canada P. round P. round -
 Guatemala P. round P. round -
 Switzerland P. round P. round -
 South Africa P. round -
 Germany P. round -
 Uruguay - - 3rd

See also


  1. ^ Diario el Mercurio, 4 de mayo de 2008 (Spanish)
  2. ^ "FIP World Polo Championship returns to USA after 23 years". Retrieved 2020-03-08.
  3. ^ "Spain wins World Polo Championship for the first time". Retrieved 2022-11-07.