Colombia stripped of PanAm 2027 Games


Colombia lost hosting rights for PanAm Games Image: Estadio Metropolitano Roberto Melendez, Felix H.M., CC BY-SA 4.0

Colombia will launch a protest after being stripped of the rights to host the upcoming 2027 Pan American Games.

Inside The Games said the country plans to take action against Panam Sports for excluding Barranquilla from the rights to host the Games.

Barranquilla, which was previously announced as the host city and also presented at the closing ceremony of Santiago 2023 as the next host of the 2027 Pan American Games, has now been left empty-handed.

Although no replacement has yet been announced, there are strong rumours that Asunción, the capital of Paraguay, could be in the running to replace Barranquilla.

Barranquilla was stripped of the rights to host the Games after the Colombian city failed to meet its contractual obligations, governing body Panam Sports said.

Panam Sports said in a statement, “Panam Sports informs the public that its Executive Committee has unanimously decided to withdraw Barranquilla, Colombia as the Host City of the the XX Pan American Games.

“The resolution has been taken following several breaches of the Host City Contract. It should be noted that on October 19 at a meeting in Santiago, Chile following the receipt of an official letter from the Colombian authorities dated October 25, Barranquilla requested an extension of the deadline to comply with the contract. The proposal was accepted by Panam Sports which provided new deadlines of December 30, 2023 and January 30, 2024.

“However, since the new deadline passed with no response, on January 3, 2024, the Panam Sports Executive Committee has made the unwavering decision to remove the rights to be the Host City of the continental Games in 2027.”

Panam Sports said it profoundly regretted the situation but has made the decision with the future of the greatest multisport event of the Americas and the athletes of the continent in mind.

Inside the Games further stated that financial problems, delayed guarantees of almost $8 million and political and economic difficulties faced by the left-wing government of President Gustavo Petro led to the decision by Panam Sports.

Ciro Solano, president of the Colombian Olympic Committee (COC), admitted in an interview with AFP that the government had failed to pay Panam Sports some $4 million by 31 December, as agreed.

But he expressed his dissatisfaction with the “incomprehensible” decision of the body, which is headed by the Chilean Neven Ilic.

Colombia’s head of Olympic sports also expressed his frustration with Paraguay, accusing the country of interfering and lobbying to deprive Colombia of the hosting rights.

Asked if they would challenge the Panam Sports decision in court, he said they would try to do so through administrative channels.

He said, “We will claim the right (to host) that was granted two and a half years ago, regardless of the difficulties we have faced.”

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