(Bromont) “In the wall.” This is where head the World Equestrian Games, scheduled in 2018 in Bromont, if nothing is done to correct the situation, told The East Voices President and CEO of the organizing committee of the event Luc Fournier, who just resign. The shock wave is amplified as Chairman of the Board Franqois Duffar and three other members did the same.
“It takes a shock. It goes into the wall with the World Equestrian Games. This week, I reached the conclusion that I will not be able to deliver a quality product. In the current conditions, I no longer believe. So I had no option but to resign. I did it two days ago (Wednesday). It will be a new change of guard within the organization. It will take someone better equipped than me to do it, “said the veteran CEO COJEM Friday. Because of the terms of his contract, it must however give notice of three months. Furthermore he and Mr. Duffar Julie Payette and Linda Heathcott René Perreault left the ship.
According to Luc Fournier, tension with the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) had become untenable. “FEI was asked repeatedly to ease its financing terms. And this is only one example among many. We give them money, but in turn, they have no responsibility. They shout their “Help us!” And to date there is no response. In November, I was dying of hunger, has shown that with over 30 years of experience in the events world. It is ultimately the Government of Quebec that saved us in extremis by injecting funds. ”
“We’ll tie the legs and you are told to run, he imaged. We can not keep going on the ropes like that. In any case, not me. ”
Recall that the event’s budget is estimated at $ 72 million for operations. A sum of $ 20 million is expected in capital, including for the construction of a riding school. “With some unexpected, it should be around $ 95 million,” Mr. Fournier had mentioned. As for donors leading private funds, only the Swiss watchmaker Longines, sponsor of the FEI has granted $ 3 million.
Similarly, the fact that the federal do not yet advanced to financially support the Games is fraught with consequences, conceded the CEO. COJEM the leaders had met with the Minister of Sport and the Disabled Carla Qualtrough in March in Ottawa. The organization wanted to have confirmation that the federal contribute “at least” up to Quebec in the Games, or $ 8,750,000. A response to that was envisaged in early April. However, the status quo remains.
“When I get to the international request for sponsorship and the government of the country receiving the Games did not commit, everyone stays on guard,” said Luc Fournier.
Bromont without showing the finger, Luc Fournier points out that the conditions for financial assistance from the municipality are not “facilitating”. “In most international events, there is a funding guarantees deficits. In this case, the City said it would put $ 2 million in cash and services, not a penny more. So who will be responsible if we lack money to the Games? “Said Mr. Fournier, stating that it not written in red ink. “But it is near!” He went further.
With one voice
A major dispute between the Agricultural Society of Shefford County (SACS), which oversees the infrastructure component of the equestrian games, and COJEM, also undermines the progress of the ongoing project, supported the CEO resigned. This one said a joint management is at the heart of the standoff drags on. “From the beginning, it turns square between the two organizations. We must speak with one voice, have the same vision. We are forced to get married [to the event], but SACS does not want. We can not work in parallel. ”
The president of the SACS, Marcel Bundock, has not called The Voice of the East.
Luc Fournier nevertheless claims not from bitter. “I’m sad. I knew I could in a difficult situation, but I came here because I wanted to deliver. All I hope is that the shock to take effect. And especially that the current situation does not polarize people against the project. ”
Mayor “still believes in it”
For its part, the mayor of Bromont, Pauline Quinlan, trying to stay on track despite the storm that passes through the organization.
“The World Equestrian Games, I believed and I still believe. We will hope that this shock brings all stakeholders to sit down and see if it is possible to make these Games. ”
When asked about possible financial support from the City to the SACS despite the dispute with the COJEM, Ms. Quinlan did not want to move.