Bromont/Montreal Bid Expected to Keep Government Financial Pledge for World Games Despite Change of Power

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USA's Dorothy Morkis on Monaco as the last combination in the 1976 Olympic Games Nations Cup at Bromont, Canada. Dottie is still an active rider and trainer.
USA’s Dorothy Morkis on Monaco as the last combination in the 1976 Olympic Games Nations Cup at Bromont, Canada. Dottie is still an active rider and trainer.

MONTREAL, Quebec, April 7, 2014–Bromont/Montreal is expected to keep a pledge by the separatist Parti Quebecois government to financially underwrite the 2018 World Equestrian Games after overwhelming defeat by the Liberal party in provincial elections Monday.

The Liberals won a clear majority of about 70 seats in the 125-member national assembly to oust the government that pledged $9 million for operational costs and $10.5 million for infrastructure for the Games at the same venue that hosted the Montreal Olympic equestrian competition in 1976.

Philippe Couillard, leader of the Quebec Liberal Party, said before the election he would honor the commitment made by the PQ government.

“It is very good for Quebec,” he was quoted in newspaper reports. “If there is a region which has a tradition of equestrian sports it is here in Bromont. I have personal friends who are involved in the project. So, yes, it is very favorable.”

Because of possible political uncertainty caused by the election, the FEI was reported to have extended to the end of April a deadline for the Bromont organzing committee to line up firm taxpayer support.

Lexington, Kentucky and Bromont have been confirmed by the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) Tuesday as the last remaining candidates to host the 2018 Games, the event the governing body of global horse sports describes as its “flagship” event of eight disciplines held once every four years.

The two candidate cities will make final detailed bids to the FEI Bureau in Lausanne, Switzerland in June and the host for 2018 will be announced after the meeting.

A lineup that initially included Australia, Africa, multiple locations in Europe as well as North America has dwindled to the locations in Canada and the United States in the second round of bidding.

Bromont was the sole bidder standing after the first round but its bid was rejected by the FEI because it lacked “public sector support”–translation, taxpayer dollars.

London, the 2012 Olympic city; Wellington, Florida and Lexington, host of the 2010 Games, were urged by the FEI to submit bids along with Bromont. London quickly pulled out, followed by Wellington for the second time, on this occasion citing a commercial conflict as Wellington has a long term contract with Rolex while the FEI has a deal with Longines.

The 2018 Kentucky bid does not yet have an organizing committee leading to speculation its offer is not serious. Also, there is no public indication what guarantee the government of the Bluegrass State has given.

John Nicholson, who oversaw $80 million in capital improvements, including a 5,500-seat Alltech indoor arena; the 7,300-seat outdoor Rolex Stadium; new stabling and improved footing in more competition arenas for the 2010 WEG, has resigned as chief of the Kentucky Horse Park. A question is whether the Rolex Stadium, used not only for WEG in 2010 but annually for the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event scheduled for later this month, would have to change its name.

However, Alltech, which saved the 2010 Games from a financial debacle and is also the title sponsor of this year’s WEG in Normandy, is based in the state.

If selected, however, Lexington would be the first repeat host.

Since the WEG was first staged in 1990 as the global equestrian championships held every four years and grown to include dressage, driving, endurance, eventing, jumping, reining, vaulting and para-dressage, six of the seven WEGs have been in Europe.