The 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games (WEG) will not take place at Bromont in Canada due to “ongoing financial issues”.
Questions over whether the country would be able to host the championships had been raised this month after the government revealed it would not support the event financially.
Bromont was awarded the games in 2014, but during the past year money trouble and mass resignations from the organising committee board have raised doubts as to whether it would go ahead.
The FEI has said it is now “working on alternatives” after a mutual agreement was reached between the organisation and the Bromont organising committee (COJEM).
“We are sad that the Bromont organising 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 organisation 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.”
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 local government level, but the financial plan for the Games included sourcing federal government funding.
However, Carla Qualtrough, Canada’s minister of sport and persons with disabilities, last week confirmed the federal government would give no funding to the Games.
“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,” added Mr De Vos.
“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.”
He added he is confident a “workable solution” can be found.
“Of course it isn’t easy for any organising committee to put on an event of this magnitude in a two-year timeframe, but it is not unprecedented,” he said. “The Italians hosted a brilliant World Equestrian Games in Rome in 1998 after Ireland pulled out less than two years before the Games.”
COJEM chair Rosaire Houde said the committee had left “no stone unturned” in its quest to find solid funding to support the Games.
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“This has been a very difficult decision to come to terms with”, he said.
“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.”