By Phiillip Whitten
MONTREAL, Canada, December 10. MONTREAL may be forced to pull out of hosting the FINA World Swimming Championships, scheduled for next July, due to huge financial problems, reliable sources said yesterday.
The financial crisis faced by the meet organizers is so dire that they reportedly have asked the Canadian national government, the Quebec provincial government and city authorities for an infusion of an additional Can$12.2 million (US$9.8 million).
Reports indicate that city and regional authorities are unlikely to help out, though the national authorities in Ottawa may be more sympathetic.
"It's a critical situation," said Yvon DesRochers, who heads up the Montreal organizing committee. "There's a real risk the championships could be canceled."
The source of the problem, according to Montreal newspapers, is that the event has thus far been unable to attract sponsorship dollars. Instead of an anticipated Can$12 million (US$9.7 million), they have managed to raise only Can$4 million (US$3.3 million).
Ticket sales have also lagged far below expectations, totaling only US$407,000 to date, according to La Presse. Organizers had estimated ticket sales at US$5.7 million, a signifiacant portion of the overall budget of almost US$30 million.
SwimInfo will keep an eye on this developing situation and report as vents unfold.