The schism between the organisers of the Rendez-vous sporting event in Montr? and the Federation of Gay Games has widened, with Rendez-vous organisers moving to establish their own global association of gay and lesbian sporting teams.

A think tank of 19 representatives from gay and lesbian sporting teams around the world which convened in Montr? last weekend resolved to support the creation of an inclusive, globally recognised, integrated gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered association that celebrates, supports and promotes our culture through sport.

The move exacerbates the tensions between Rendez-vous organisers and the Federation, tensions that have existed since Montr? walked away from contract negotiations regarding the staging of the 2006 Gay Games.

Team Sydney board member Geoff Lyne, who participated in last weekend’s think tank as a guest of Rendez-vous organisers, told Sydney Star Observer that a new international gay and lesbian sporting body would require a more democratic structure than the Federation of Gay Games.

Lyne was a member of a Federation sub-committee but resigned in September last year, frustrated, he said, by the fact that the power was held by very few.

He also stated that any new group would be radically different from the Federation. This group is not looking at just one event; we’d be looking at a continuous calendar of gay and lesbian sporting events, he said. Lyne also committed to discussing the proposed new organisation with sporting teams in Australia and New Zealand and reporting back to the think tank group, which will re-convene in Boston in late March.

Team Sydney co-president Ian Davis told the Star he was not convinced the new organisation was a good move, but he would not condemn it.

An alternative international sporting body has the potential to entrench the division between the Federation of Gay Games and Montr? 2006, Davis said. There are people in Sydney who are strong supporters of the Federation and there are people in Sydney who are strong supporters of Montr?. But virtually everybody who lives outside of North America is going to have to make a decision between the two.

The Federation itself made a low-key response to the proposed new group, declining to issue an official statement on the matter. Individual directors also played down its potential impact.

Several sources told the Star that Federation co-president Roberto Mantaci and another director travelled to Montr? to participate in last weekend’s think tank but were barred from entering.

Individual Federation director Richard Cobden dismissed the proposed new association as a puppet organisation set up by Montr?’s PR spin machine to give a veneer of credibility in the lead-up to their games.

Cobden said that while the Rendez-vous 2006 event itself would have an effect on a Gay Games held in the same year, the formation of a new group would have negligible impact.

Chicago and Los Angeles have made bids to host the Gay Games in 2006 and the winning city will be announced by early March.

Federation vice-president Richard Hogan rejected a suggestion that the proposed new group was an attack on the credibility of the Federation.

We’re all for advancing the cause of gays and lesbians in sports, he said. We’re curious to see if they can produce what they’ve talked about.

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