Following a tumultuous month for the 2018 World Equestrian Games, the FEI confirmed today that the host site contract with Bromont has been terminated “due to ongoing financial issues.”
“We are sad that the Bromont organising committee is no longer in a position to host the Games in 2018,” FEI President Ingmar De Vos said. “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 FEI said the decision came after a mutual agreement with the organizing committee, Canadian Comité organisateur des Jeux Équestres Mondiaux 2018 (COJEM).
“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,” Ingmar said.
“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.”
Rosaire Houde, chair of the COJEM board, added: “This has been a very difficult decision to come to terms with. 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,” Rosaire concluded.
Looking back on Bromont’s bid, it originally looked like the Games would automatically be awarded to Canada, as the remaining countries had all withdrawn their applications by January 2013. But the FEI reopened the bid process in July 2013 due to concerns that Bromont would not be able to secure the financial support necessary to host the Games.
The FEI Bureau then voted unanimously in June 2014 to award the 2018 World Equestrian Games to Bromont, which beat out Lexington, Kentucky as the only other contender due to a commercial conflict between Rolex, a key Kentucky Horse Park sponsor, and Longines, a key FEI sponsor.
Bromont faced an uphill battle from the start, from a critical lack of funding and feuds with the construction company responsible for building the venues to multiple CEO resignations and shake-ups on the board, the most recent of which came in May when five board members resigned.
The FEI is now looking at other potential host venues for the 2018 WEG, which will be held August 12-26, 2018.
“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 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,” Ingmar said.
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