The Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) has announced that it is working on alternatives for the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games™ (WEG) following a mutual agreement between the FEI and Canadian Comité organisateur des Jeux Équestres Mondiaux 2018 (COJEM) to terminate the contract to host the Games due to ongoing financial issues.
“We are sad that the Bromont organizing committee is no longer in a position to host the Games in 2018,” said FEI President Ingmar De Vos. “We have been working very closely with the COJEM Board and all levels of the organization since the Games were allocated to Canada in mid-2014 and have known for some time that the Bromont team was facing major financial difficulties.
“We have done everything possible to offer support during these tough times, but sadly the COJEM Board was unable to put in place a realistic funding and sponsorship strategy and, despite their best efforts, we have been left with no choice but to agree between us that the contract should be terminated. We believe Bromont is a really special venue and equestrian sport plays a key role in the local community. We hope that they will be able to host other major equestrian events in the future.”
“This has been a very difficult decision to come to terms with,” Rosaire Houde, Chair of the COJEM Board said. “Since the new board took over, we have left no stone unturned in our quest to find solid funding to support the Games, but sadly this has not been forthcoming. We are extremely grateful to the FEI for their support throughout the entire process, but it has been mutually agreed that we should terminate the contract. It is something I personally bitterly regret but it was the only responsible course of action.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has been involved in the Games project and who had faith in it from the outset. It was so dear to the hearts of so many people in Bromont and Quebec and we are devastated that we have been unable to deliver this great event.”
The 2018 Games were allocated to Canada by the FEI Bureau in June 2014 after the bid committee provided confirmation to the FEI that it had substantial government backing. This was at the local government level, but the financial plan for the Games included sourcing Federal Government funding, however, Carla Qualtrough, the Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities, last week confirmed that no funding would be forthcoming from the Canadian Federal Government.
The FEI made regular visits to Bromont to assist COJEM with planning and to address financial issues, and both the FEI President and the FEI Secretary General Sabrina Ibáñez were in Canada in recent months to work directly with the COJEM Board.
“While the FEI of course wanted to ensure the success of the Games in Canada and gave every possible support, we also have a responsibility to our community and to the future of our flagship events,” De Vos said. “We are now looking at possible alternatives for 2018 and we are hopeful that we will be in a position to make an announcement shortly.
“Of course it isn’t easy for any organizing committee to put on an event of this magnitude in a two-year timeframe, but it is not unprecedented and the Italians hosted a brilliant World Equestrian Games in Rome in 1998 after Ireland pulled out less than two years before the Games, so we are confident that a workable solution will be found.”