The Executive Committee of Panam Sports decided this January 3 to withdraw the venue of the 2027 Pan American Games from Barranquilla, Colombia. In a statement, the continental body indicated that the decision is due to breach of contract by the Colombian city.

“The resolution has been taken after the countless breaches of the current contract,” Panam Sports reported in a statement without giving further details. “Panam Sports deeply regrets this situation, but the decision has been made thinking about the future of the largest multisport event in the Americas and the athletes of the continent.”

Colombia was preparing to host the Pan American Games for the second time in its history. The first time it served as the host country dates back to the 1971 edition, when the fair was held in Cali.

Panam Sports informed him of the decision through a letter sent to Ciro Solano Hurtado, president of the Colombian Olympic Committee, where he explained the reasons.

“The reasons for withdrawing the Games and the termination of the Host City Contract are set out in full in our letter of August 30, 2023. Supplemented by our letter of October 26, 2023. As clearly stated in the letter of the October 26, 2023. Failure to comply with the requirements established in said letter automatically cancels the extension of time provided to correct the breaches of the Host City Contract. Listed in our letter of August 30, 2023. And allows Panam Sports “immediately terminate the Host City Contract, and withdraw the Games from the City of Barranquilla.”

The hot city on Colombia’s Caribbean coast had raised its hand to host the sports event, but non-compliance with the disbursements of money required by Panam Sports raised doubts regarding the viability of the project.

Within the framework of the Santiago 2023 Pan American Games, Panam Sports granted a new deadline to Barranquilla to comply with the contract until January 2024. “However, given the lack of response once the new deadline had passed, the Panam Executive Committee Sports…has made the unwavering determination to withdraw the right to be the host city of the continental event in 2027.”

The statement does not specify next steps. However, São Paulo is one of the cities that would be offered as an alternative. The Brazilian city had expressed its interest in organizing the games in 2031. The most recent edition of the Pan American Games was held in Santiago, Chile, between October 22 and November 5.

Alejandro Char, mayor of Barranquilla, told the press after the decision that he remains confident that the continental competitions will be held in his city, and urged the president of Colombia, Gustavo Petro, to intervene.

Char, who took office just a few days ago, considered that the city does have the financial resources to organize the Games. “The money is already there today, it is complete,” he assured.

The Colombian Sports Ministry declared itself surprised by Panam Sports’ “unilateral” decision. Through a statement, the agency explained that previously the head of that portfolio, Astrid Rodríguez, reached an agreement with the president of Panam Sports to make the payment in January 2024 and not during the period of 2023.

Fuente: Panam Sports y Agencias de Prensa