Montréal 2006 Will Happen Without the Federation
of Gay Games
Montréal, 11 November 2003
- "November 10, 2003 will remain for me, and for
thousands of gay and lesbian athletes around the
world, a day of mourning. Montréal's opportunity
to bring forward the ideals of participation,
inclusion and personal best as put forward by
Tom Waddell have just been crushed by the members
of the Federation of Gay Games (FGG) who have,
after two years of negotiations, rejected Montréal's
final offer to present the Games" said Mark Tewksbury,
Co-President of Montréal 2006.
Montreal 2006 just experienced
three incredible days during the final round of
negotiations with the FGG. After two years of
discussions and a 400-page contract, after 15
hours of negotiations through the night Saturday
into Sunday, after being given only 12 minutes
to be heard during yesterday's all-day assembly,
after all those efforts, the FGG found a way to
have its members not vote on Montreal 2006's proposal!
The FGG returned with clauses that Montreal 2006
had already repeatedly rejected and, more importantly,
the FGG has continued to demand the full financial
control of the 2006 Games.
The FGG's ultimatum to Montreal
2006 expires tomorrow, after which time the FGG
will take away Montreal 2006's right to host Gay
Games VII in 2006. We realize now that it is time
to break with the past and with an organization
that ultimately represents little more than itself,
with only 21 of the 1000 sports teams around the
world being FGG members.
Rendez-Vous Montreal 2006 will,
however, move forward as planned. "Our event will
take place without the FGG" declared Tewksbury.
"Our vision remains the same. We will offer the
best sport games the gay and lesbian athletes
of the world have ever seen."
The long road of negotiation
has not been easy. The FGG, embittered by the
deficits of previous host cities, demanded that
Montréal's original candidature of 24,000 participants
be reduced to 10,000, with budget cuts from an
original $20 million CAD down to a starting point
of $10 million CAD.
In June, Montréal 2006 conceded
to revise its numbers to 16,000 participants with
a budget of $16 million CAD. This participation
level was based on the financial viability of
the Games and on the fact that this will be the
first time in twelve years that Games have taken
place in North America.
The deal breaker between Montréal
2006 and the FGG was the issue of financial control
of the event. The FGG insisted on approval rights
on budgetary increases and expenditures - yet
left all legal responsibility and accountability
for the administration of the Games to the Board
of Directors of Montréal 2006. Furthermore, the
FGG, while not participating in any way in fundraising
for the Games, collects close to one million dollars
CAD for the license rights to the trademark.
So where does Montréal 2006
go from here?
Strengthened by the support
of sports teams from all over the world and by
the unwavering support of its financial partners,
Montréal 2006 will hold Games in Montréal in 2006
as planned. Regardless of what the FGG may do,
Montréal 2006 will focus on servicing the hundreds
of sport teams and clubs around the world. A think
tank with prominent members of the gay and lesbian
sport community will be organized in the months
ahead to ensure the creation of an international
sporting movement that will be democratic, inclusive
The possibility of Montréal
2006 taking legal measures necessary with regard
to the FGG or any city that agrees to host Gay
Games in 2006 remains open.
Montréal 2006 leaves Chicago
admittedly disappointed, but strong in its resolve
to deliver a successful event in 2006. "With the
wealth of support already received from athletes
around the world, we know that we will be able
to host Games on the scale they deserve, and for
the first time in close to twenty years, in a
financially responsible manner," said Tewksbury.
– 30 –
Jean Héon, Communications
Office: (514) 252-5858
Cell.: (514) 999-0915