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Barranquilla stripped of 2027 Pan American Games

Featured image credit: Dawin Rizzo on Unsplash

The Colombian city of Barranquilla has been stripped of hosting rights for the 2027 Pan American Games following “several breaches” of the host city contract.

Panam Sports, the governing body which organises the multi-sport event, confirmed in a statement yesterday (Wednesday) that its executive committee has unanimously decided to withdraw rights from Barranquilla.

Panam Sports stated that on October 25, Barranquilla requested an extension of the deadline to comply with the contract. This proposal was accepted by Panam Sports, which provided new deadlines of December 30 and January 30.

According to Panam Sports, the December deadline passed with no response and the decision has been taken to remove the event from Barranquilla. Panam Sports said it “profoundly regrets” the situation but has made the decision with the future of the event and the athletes in mind.

Following Panam Sports’ announcement, Colombia’s Ministry of Sport released a statement to clarify its position on the Games. It said the Government of Colombia has reaffirmed on “multiple occasions” its commitment to hosting the Pan American and Parapan American Games.

It was also noted that Colombia’s Sports Minister, Astrid Bibiana Rodríguez, had reached an agreement with Panam Sports president Neven Ilic to make an $8m (£6.3m/€7.3m) payment by the end of this month after there were difficulties in providing the money during 2023.

The Ministry of Sport added that it was surprised by Panam Sports’ decision, with the government remaining determined to fulfil Colombia’s obligation to host the Games.

The Paraguayan capital of Asunción has reportedly expressed an interest in stepping in as a replacement.

Barranquilla was awarded hosting rights for the Games back in August 2021. At the time, Mayor Jaime Pumarejo said that Barranquilla would not seek to develop ‘white elephants’ to stage the event and would make use of facilities developed for the 2018 Central American and Caribbean Games, which took place in the city.

The Chilean capital of Santiago hosted the most recent edition of the Pan American Games in October and November last year.