International Equestrian Federation (FEI) president Ingmar de Vos has given his backing to Bromont’s staging of the 2018 World Equestrian Games following a series of high-level resignations from the organising committee for the event.
The city in Quebec, Canada was awarded hosting rights by the FEI in 2014, with the Bromont Olympic Equestrian Park, which was used as a venue during the 1976 Montreal Olympic Games, serving as the hub for the event.
However, organising committee chief executive Luc Fournier and chairman François Duffar, along with board members Julie Payette, René Perreault and Linda Heathcott, quit at the weekend amid financial concerns for the Games.
Richard Mongeau, general manager of the non-profit organisation Cheval Quebec, whose group backed the bidding process and is to promote the games from 2017, told Canadian broadcaster CBC he is “very concerned” about the current situation. He said the controversy is over the federal government's financial commitment to the Games.
Mongeau said C$9m (€6.23m/$7.17m) is being provided by the province, and the federal government was expected to match that but hasn’t made a commitment to date. Fournier told Radio-Canada the issues involve several partners. “Without a major change in direction and concrete and affirmed support from the group of partners, we cannot deliver the Games in 2018,” he said.
Mongeau added: “If this situation were to continue, it would be hard to imagine another result than the cancellation of the event.”
The 2018 Games will mark only the second time the event has been staged outside of Europe after Lexington in the US played host in 2010. De Vos said, according to the Horses.nl website: “We need to get a complete picture of the situation and consider our options.
“The FEI continues to fully support the concept of the World Equestrian Games and believes that an event of this calibre, in which eight equestrian disciplines are represented, must continue. The World Equestrian Games are embraced by countless fans, and there is already great interest in hosting the event in 2022.”