Money troubles cast doubt over 2018 World Equestrian Games

  • Lack of funding has raised serious questions over whether the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games (WEG) will go ahead in Canada.

    Canada’s minister of sport and persons with disabilities, Carla Qualtrough, last week confirmed that the Canadian government would not be supporting the games.

    “On July 11, 2016, the 2018 World Equestrian Games organising committee was informed that the government of Canada will not be providing federal funds to support the hosting of the 2018 World Equestrian Games,” read a statement from minister Qualtrough’s office.

    “The event has an estimated budget of $100 million (£58.2 million), of which approximately $66.6 million (£38.76 million) of overall revenue sources must be raised from the private sector.

    “As of today, no private sector funds have been confirmed, nor has a deficit guarantor.

    “Federal funding was never committed for this event, we have continued to be clear of our requirements and expectations in our discussions with the 2018 WEG organising committee.”

    If it does go ahead, the Bromont games would be just the second time WEG has been held outside Europe.

    FEI secretary general Sabrina Ibáñez told H&H on Monday (18 July) that “as a matter of priority” the FEI will be meeting with the Bromont organising committee (COJEM) and Equine Canada to get a “full picture of the situation” and to look at the next steps.

    “The FEI has been officially advised by the COJEM that the Canadian Federal Government has made the decision not to fund the 2018 FEI WEG in Bromont and obviously this is very disappointing,” said Ms Ibáñez.

    “As the international governing body, the FEI has a responsibility to ask the right questions and protect the future of our flagship events.”

    A spokesman for Equine Canada declined to comment.

    The background

    This is not the first time funding shortages have been raised as a possible problem for WEG 2018.

    A spokesman for minister Qualtrough told H&H in May the government had not offered support “at any time” before or after Bromont (news, 26 May).

    In May, five senior figures from the WEG 2018 organising committee resigned stating they “will not be able to deliver and to stage the games as planned in two years”.

    These included former CEO Luc Fournier, chairman of the board François Duffar, Julie Payette, René Perreault and Linda Heathcott.

    Fournier is the second CEO to resign — his predecessor Paul Côté had also resigned, last August.

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    The Quebec venue is also not the first WEG to struggle with money.

    But the FEI has expressed support and determination that WEG will go ahead.

    FEI president Ingmar de Vos, who visited Canada in April, told H&H in May that the resignations were not a “surprise”.

    He said: “We need to get a full picture and look at how we can work with Equine Canada [the national federation] and the board to deliver the games. The FEI remains fully committed to the concept of WEG and believes this way of organising world championships is absolutely right. There is already interest in the bidding process for the 2022 games.”

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