UPDATE: The European Gay and Lesbian Sports Federation announced via email Wednesday it has given its blessing to a somewhat smaller-than-planned Eurogames in Rome and re-opened registration for the July games following last month’s suspension.
Three events were cut due to a lack of registered or expected participants: basketball, pétanque, and rugby. That leaves 12 sports still in the offing, almost a third of the number that are planned for next year’s Eurogames in Dusseldorf, Germany.
Also, according to the EGLSF, the Roma Run and Roma Bike events don’t meet “EuroGames requirements, and will be offered solely as leisure sports.”
More details are available at the Eurogames Rome 2019 website.
ORIGINAL REPORT: The European Gay and Lesbian Sports Federation is none too happy with the organizers of this year’s EuroGames in Rome, who reportedly are having trouble drawing participants. A spokesperson for the event, however, denies reports of trouble to Outsports, claiming “The organizational machine of the Eurogames of Rome is more healthy than ever.”
Online registration was suspended this week amid questions of how the summer event is being planned, financed, sponsored and promoted, according to the Bay Area Reporter.
EuroGames 2019 was scheduled to take place July 11 and 12, with a projected 5,000 participants. But the BAR reports with less than four months until the opening, only 1,419 participants have registered and several sports have already been dropped. So the suspension of online registration appeared to several LGBTQ organizations to be a particularly dark omen.
However, organizers in Rome told the BAR it’s just a glitch.
“We have temporarily suspended registration for tournaments due to the unexpectedly high number of requests,” said Roma 2019 spokesman Gianluca Meola. “The registration system will work again after an update.”
Meola responded to follow-up questions from Outsports with more or less the same stock answer, translated from Italian: “Hi, soon the registration system will be operational again. The system had to be temporarily suspended for an update.”
Only 14 sports are currently planned, if the EuroGames go forward at all: soccer, volleyball, beach volleyball, basketball, rugby, tennis, badminton, pétanque, bowling, swimming, water polo, dancesport, golf, and athletics. However, prior to the suspension of online registration, the Roma 2019 website had listed zero registrations for rugby. The lawn game Pétanque had a whopping three registrants and just six for basketball, which we guess means they could three rounds of HORSE.
After publication of these details, Meola sent Outsports another message:
“I am sorry that you are reporting without any foundation. The organizational machine of the EuroGames of Rome is more healthy than ever. I trust in the professionalism of your newspaper so that it does not feed something that is not true.”
This snafu couldn’t come at a worse time for EGLSF. As the BAR reported, the organization is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, and just signed EuroGames hosts for 2020 and 2021, Dusseldorf and Copenhagen, respectively. Delegates also voted to make Nijmegen, Netherlands the host for 2022.
But according to the report, those attending the annual EGLSF meeting last weekend in Budapest were vocal about their dissatisfaction with what he 2019 organizers in Rome were telling them. There’s now a March 30 the deadline for them to respond with answers.
As the BAR reported, the problems the EuroGames are having appear isolated. The 2014 Gay Games in Cleveland not only ended with a profit but provided the local LGBT community with legacy funding as a result. This Saturday, March 23, 2018 Gay Games organizers are expected to meet in Paris to present their final report, which is due to be filed with the Federation of Gay Games by March 31. The FGG told the BAR almost all of the final Paris Gay Games reports are already in, and will be shared with Hong Kong organizers of the 2022 Gay Games this weekend.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This story was updated to include additional comments from the spokesperson for the organizers of EuroGames Roma.