News / Winnipeg

Get out: Winnipeg withdraws as host of LGBTQ sporting event

'We came to the conclusion that running the games would just be too high-risk and we would not be able to deliver the experience originally envisioned,' said the president of Pride Winnipeg.

The World OutGames cancelled almost all of its events the day before the Opening Ceremony, disappointing many LGBTQ athletes.

Toronto Star Staff

The World OutGames cancelled almost all of its events the day before the Opening Ceremony, disappointing many LGBTQ athletes.

Organizers of the 2020 North America OutGames have withdrawn Winnipeg as the host city, following an investigation into fraud allegations linked to this year's Miami event.

In May, LGBTQ athletes from around the world travelled to Florida to participate in the World OutGames—but they arrived to a cancelled event that they had already paid to attend.

In the aftermath, the Miami Beach Police Department and State Attorney’s Office opened a fraud investigation.

Winnipeg had already paid US$2,000 in a bid to host the event.  

“We came to the conclusion that running the games would just be too high-risk and we would not be able to deliver the experience originally envisioned,” said Jonathan Niemczack, president of Pride Winnipeg and chair of the 2020 North America OutGames Planning Committee.

But all is not lost for Winnipeg hosting an LGBTQ sporting event in the future.

In 2020, the city is hosting the Canada Pride Festival, and Pride Winnipeg is considering running a multi-sport event in tandem.

“Similar to what the OutGames would have been, but on a much smaller scale,” Niemczack said. The event would also be Canadian-focused instead of national.

The final decision on those plans is expected in 2018.

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