Colombia's Barranquilla stripped of 2027 Pan Am Games

MEXICO CITY: Barranquilla was stripped of the rights to host the 2027 Pan American Games after the Colombian city failed to meet its contractual obligations, governing body Panam Sports said on Wednesday.

Panam Sports said in a statement that the executive committee had voted unanimously to remove Barranquilla following "several breaches" of the host city contract.

Panam Sports did not say what those breaches were.

There had been warning signs that the Barranquilla Games were in trouble when Colombian authorities in late October requested an extension of the deadline to comply with the contract.

Panam Sports set new deadlines of Dec 30, 2023 and Jan 30, 2024.

After the first deadline passed without a response from the hosts, Panam Sports said it was left no choice but to remove Barranquilla as hosts.

Panam Sports did not say if any city was prepared to take on the 2027 Games.

"Panam Sports profoundly regrets this situation but has made this decision with the future of the greatest multi-sport event of the Americas and the athletes of the continent in mind," said Panam Sports.

The decision leaves yet another dark cloud hanging over the future of regional multi-sport Games.

Last year Australia's state of Victoria withdrew as host of the 2026 Commonwealth Games due to projected cost overruns.

Finding ways to breathe relevance and interest into an increasingly marginalized competition remains an ongoing challenge with fewer cities interested in bidding for the Games and top athletes giving them a pass.

Twice before Santiago had been awarded hosting rights (1975 and 1987) but withdrew both times due to financial and political issues and only secured the 2023 Games when it was the last bid standing after Buenos Aires pulled out.

The Santiago Games attracted nearly 7,000 athletes from 41 nations but the top competitors in most events did not take part, focusing on other competitions such as the athletics world championships. --Reuters

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