Organizers of the 2006 Gay Games in Montreal say an international event for gay athletes will take place in the city in 2006 with or without the support of the Federation of Gay Games, The [Montreal] Gazette reports. Montreal organizers and Gay Games officials are at odds over the number of participants that should be allowed: The federation is insisting that Montreal limit the number to 12,000 athletes. The limit is in response to the fact that the four previous Gay Games--in Vancouver, New York City, Amsterdam, and Sydney--all faced bankruptcy when the events concluded.
"We are calling for a reasonable and prudent plan based on 12,000 participants, and then wait until Montreal actually gets real money in the bank," said Kathleen Webster, cochair of the federation.
But Olympic gold medalist Mark Tewksbury, who is cochair of the Montreal games, said having as many participants as possible is essential to the event's success, since each participant pays a $200 fee. He adds that Montreal organizers already have commitments to cover $5 million of its planned $12 million budget.
"We're the first city to have $5 million secured from public funds, the first city to have a national broadcasting contract three years out from the games," he said.
Montreal and Gay Games officials will meet in Chicago this weekend to try to iron out their differences, The Gazette reports.