Organisers in Chicago finalised agreements last Friday to become the new host city of the 2006 Gay Games following the withdrawal of the Federation’s first choice, Montr?.

The announcement marks the official commencement of hostilities between the rival cities, a competition that began when Montr? organisers declared they would present their own gay sporting and cultural event entitled Rendez-Vous in 2006.

Earlier this month Rendez-Vous organisers accused the Federation of Gay Games of attempting to divide the American gay community by scheduling the 2006 Games in Chicago just two weeks before the Montr? event.

The first divisions seemed to emerge on 12 March, when it was announced by Rendez-Vous that the European Gay and Lesbian Sports Federation were withdrawing from the FGG and would participate in joint promotions of the Montr? games and the 2004 EuroGames. (The EGLSF consists of more than 100 sports teams and 10,000 athletes).

The group announced however that they would support both events in 2006 and both Chicago and Montr? claimed victory.

Rendez-Vous withdrew from the Federation of Gay Games in November last year after failing to reach an agreement about the scope of the event. Such issues were resolved by Chicago Games Inc. this week only when local organisers agreed to rely on participant fees to fund the Games and not to finance associated cultural and social events.

The battle for cultural events seems also to have begun. Last Thursday Rendez-Vous announced the participation of 1,500 members of the GALA Choruses in the 2006 cultural festival. The international association of GLBT choruses are holding an international choral event in Montr? later this year and agreed to help promote Rendez-Vous.

The Chicago Gay Games VII will be held from15 to 22 July 2006. For more games information visit www.chicago2006.org. Registrations for Rendez-Vous Montr? 2006 open on 1 June at www.montreal2006.org. Rendez-Vous will be held between 29 July and 5 August 2006.

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