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OUTGAMES IN THE RED

The future of the international queer community’s answer to the Olympics is in doubt yet again with the announcement this week that the Montreal World Outgames has filed for bankruptcy protection four months after the event ended.

The bankruptcy protection gives organisers a 30-day breathing period to try to work out a deal with over 200 creditors owed outstanding debts in excess of $2,000,000.00.

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The over 5 million dollar loss to the Outgames is not just affecting government investors but individuals as well, including retired tennis great Martina Navratilova.

The Outgames, early last year broke off from the Federation of Gay Games after they pulled out from holding the event in Montreal and instead opted to support the Gay Games in Chicago. Montreal was to have hosted the more established Gay Games in 2006, but in a dispute over control and money the Montreal organizers pulled their bid and decided to host their own sporting event.

The financially disastrous event now has a variety of celebrity backers coming forth asking for the money they are owed from the event. Martina Navratilova is still owed half the $39,384.32 promised her by organizers of the games. Swimming champion, Mark Tewksbury who lent his name to the event, is owed payment, while Cirque du Soleil is owed $48,209.30 for its participation.

Games co-chairperson Marielle Dupere said in a brief statement that organisers are still working on finalizing the receivables and payables.

“We need to produce the final financial statements,â? the statement went on to claim. When asked when the statements will be ready to view, Dupere only responded, ‘I don’t know.”

Money problems have plagued the event since its inception, but still there are no talks about re-combining the two events to try to create a profit. Currently, the next Outgames will be held in Copenhagen in 2009 and the Gay Games will be in Cologne in 2010.

Organisers hope that by scheduling the two sets of completing games a year apart that in future the games will at least break even.

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