The stoush between the Federation of Gay Games and the Montr? 2006 organising committee will be resolved -“ one way or another -“ at a meeting between representatives of both organisations this weekend in Chicago.

The meeting, to be held before the Federation’s annual meeting opens on Monday, will include Federation co-presidents Roberto Mantaci and Kathleen Webster, as well as Montr? Liaison Task Force member, Richard Cobden.

Two weeks ago, Montr? 2006 issued a press statement, declaring that negotiations with the Federation had reached an impasse over the size and scope of the 2006 Games, as well as the question of which organisation carried ultimate financial responsibility for the event. Federation representatives canvassed the idea of awarding the 2006 Games to another city, while Montr? 2006 representatives vowed to deliver the event regardless of whether they had the sanction of the Federation or not.

Pressure has mounted on both sides since then. ?uipe Montr?, which is that city’s equivalent of Team Sydney, issued its own press statement declaring that research they had undertaken indicated that Montr? 2006 could easily exceed its objective of 16,000 registrations. On the other side, sources said that some sporting organisations which are affiliated with the Federation would not support Montr? 2006 if they proceeded with a non-Federation-sanctioned event.

?uipe Montr? president Daniel Vaudrin said he hoped for an agreement between the Federation and Montr? 2006, but the results of their research speak for themselves.

The representatives of 675 gay and lesbian sporting teams were asked whether their teams would participate in the event as Rendez-vous Montr? 2006 Sports and Cultural Festival. Of these 675, 140 teams or representatives of teams responded, 91 percent of whom said they would participate.

It seems obvious to us that the Montr? Games, with or without the approval of the FGG, are destined to have a high level of participation. The goal of 16,000 participants proposed by Montr? 2006 to successfully balance the budget of the Games is actually quite conservative, Vaudrin said.

However, Richard Cobden downplayed the significance of the ?uipe Montr? research, saying their methods were not scientific and the results were not of any particular weight. ?uipe Montr? had had their voting rights suspended for the Federation’s meeting due to a conflict of interest, Cobden added.

Cobden said he hoped the pre-meeting talks with the Montr? 2006 organisers would produce a satisfactory result, but stressed that the Federation must do what it can to avoid another catastrophic financial result.

This theme was reiterated by the Federation co-presidents in an open letter to participants of the Sydney 2002 Gay Games.

Our movement has experienced four consecutive Gay Games ending in deficits with at least three host organisations struggling and ultimately unable to deliver everything they had hoped and promised, Roberto Mantaci and Kathleen Webster wrote. It is the Federation’s ethical duty and a part of our core mission to ensure that this pattern stops.

The Federation does not seek to control or micro-manage the way Montr? 2006 allocates its resources -¦ The Federation requests some legitimate rights of supervision in the use of its brand and the production of the event. These are customary in this type of agreement between a licensor and licensee, and previous hosts such as Sydney 2002 have willingly complied, Mantaci and Webster said.

But another open letter -“ written by Montr? 2006 co-presidents Mark Tewksbury and Lucie Duguay -“ appears to question the value of the Gay Games brand.

If the FGG truly wanted only reasonable rights of supervision of our plans we might not find ourselves in an impasse with the negotiations, Tewksbury and Duguay argued. What the FGG has requested is final approval rights. This after Montr? 2006 has agreed to pay close to a million dollars CA [US$655,000] in licensing fees for the right to deliver their event.

Montr? 2006 appreciates the role the FGG states it plays in assisting host cities to deliver successful Games. Unfortunately to date, two years into the delivery of Gay Games VII, Montr? 2006 has not received a single piece of such information to assist us in the preparation of our event in 2006, the Montr? 2006 co-presidents said.

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