The breathtaking shores of Plettenberg Bay in South Africa are getting ready to host the IX Edition of the Lawyers Polo Cup from March 14-22. The tournament, a one-of-a-kind event, will see ten teams composed of 40 of the most prestigious international lawyers, who share their passion for polo.
Lawyers Polo was established by Eduardo Bereterbide, an international arbitration lawyer, who lives in Paris. He grew up in Argentina, where he developed a deep passion on the sport. “Law and chivalry; these are the mains pillars of Lawyers Polo,” says Eduardo Bereterbide, the heart and soul of the event. “The association was founded in 2008 with the aim of bringing together lawyers from around the world who enjoy polo as much as I do. We meet once a year in some of the most spectacular clubs around the world to share a week of polo, dynamic discussions, and exchange professional experiences.”
The 2022 edition of the tournament will take place at Plett Polo Club, founded over a decade ago as a polo estate in Kurland by mining executive Clifford Elphick. Prior to 2012, there was no polo in the Western Cape Province, but now it’s been developed into the Garden Route economy, generating millions in economic impact during the polo season that runs from October to April.
Previously, Lawyers Polo has been held in Buenos Aires (2008), Madrid (2009), Toronto (2010), Dubai (2011), Paris (2012), Bangkok (2015), Sotogrande (2016) and Morocco. (2018). “We had to stop due to the pandemic, but now we are back”, says Bereterbide. This year’s tournament will include powerful lawyers from 18 countries, including Argentina, Austria, Canada, Mexico, Colombia, France, Germany, India, Macao, Malasia, Portugal, Slovakia, Singapore, Switzerland, Chile, Venezuela, United Kingdom and United States.
Eduardo Bereterbide has spent a week in Pletternberg Bay overseeing facilities, visiting hotels, preparing the agenda, and looking at the fields and horses. “I was completely in awe by the high level of horses and fields, as well as by the beauty of the city,” he says. “Coming to Plettenberg Bay has only confirmed that I chose the best place to play the 2022 Lawyers Polo. The fields are spectacular, all set literally five minutes from the sea, with beautiful beaches and very kind people. Everything is fantastic. It will be a week to remember.”
In addition to polo, Lawyers Polo is also focuses on giving back the local community in which it plays each year. This year, they have chosen local non profit organisations and charities that make a meaningful difference to underprivileged children, including the Sabrina Love Foundation and The Plettenberg Bay Music Field Band, due to perform before the finals, on March 19.
The activities will start with an exclusive black tie party. “The party will see 150 people in attendance, business people and South African dignitaries, among them Tony Lubner, former South Africa Ambassador in Argentina,” says Bereterbide. “He was a political contender as well as a great friend of Nelson Mandela. He was also the leader of one of the strongest political parties in South Africa, the Democratic Alliance Party, for over 20 years. Tony is an expert on geopolitics, so we will host a special event after the polo to disucss issues surrounding Ukraine, Russia and the United States.”
In terms of the Sabrina Love Foundation, Eduardo explains that it was created by Tony Lubner, a South African millionaire. “He sadly lost his disabled daughter, and due to this tragedy, he decided to leave his business to take care of all the children in need between Cape Town and Plettenberg Bay,” says Bereterbide. “Today, Tony feeds, takes to the doctor and to school, 2,000 to 3,000 children a day. With the support of Lawyers Polo, we are buying a special bus for the charity so that they can take the children to school comfortably from their homes. We are also mending the children’s musical instruments, as well as buying them new ones.”
“We are very happy to host this international polo tournament,” says Garth Kanigowsky, representative of Plett Polo. “With 380 international lawyers in the association, this is an incredible opportunity for us to spread the word, not only about our very special polo club, but also about this beautiful place. There is a lot of work to be done before the start of Lawyers Polo, but our foundations are good. Plett is a world-class destination, and Plett Polo Club is the best polo club in Africa.”