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ENOUGH IS ENOUGH

 

It’s over. The corona crisis would have offered the chance to create something new and to support each other. We all together did not manage to achieve this.

 

What has happened so far?

 

Long before the Board of the EGLSF got involved, we as EuroGames Düsseldorf took the initiative in March to find a solution out of the corona crisis. In order to do so, we have talked to our friends from Nijmegen, who, with a heavy heart, agreed to a postponement by a year from 2022 to 2023, but in terms of solidarity within the EGLSF. At the same time, we had talks with our organizing team, our venues and the city of Düsseldorf to see if a postponement would be possible. We managed to agree upon a postponement by one year with all our partners.

 

After the Board finally took action, there was a virtual meeting with the Board and the three organizers on the 10th of April. It soon became very clear, that 2021 is not only about EuroGames, but also about World Pride, which is supposed to happen in Copenhagen at the same time as EuroGames. Happy Copenhagen confirmed this explicitly, stating that there are no EuroGames 2021, only a merged event called Copenhagen 2021.

 

The Board therefore urged us to move to 2022. We were able to negotiate cancellation costs for all our contracts in a way, that the paid cancellations would be offset for the year 2021 and the city of Düsseldorf was able to assure us funding for a postponement by one year, but not for a postponement by two years. On top of that, there was a lack of motivation by our volunteers. We have been working towards EuroGames 2020 for four years now. To keep their motivation up for another two years is something that we cannot expect from people who have organized everything in their free time. In the end, EuroGames are organized by volunteers and not by contracts or companies.

 

Every postponement to the year 2021 was rejected by Copenhagen with the note, that this would be interpreted as a breach of contract. According to the Board, there was no willingness to give up exclusivity for the year 2021. It’s therefore understandable that several members of the Board shared their concern with us, verbally and in writing, to be sued.

 

For all those participants who wanted EuroGames in Düsseldorf and to save the voluntary work and the public funds given to us, we tried to come up with a once-in-a-lifetime event that, as “Twin Games” would have taken place in August 2021 as a collective and cooperative event and would have made it possible to take part in both EuroGames due to the time proximity. As a sign of cooperation and solidarity.

 

The Board rejected this suggestion. Only after our urging, they agreed to the presentation of this concept at an EGA and they assured us in writing, that such an EGA would be held. The momentum of working together was, however, already destroyed at this point, caused by miscommunication and a lack of support by the Board. The option for an EGA was taken back by the Board a couple days later. Now, the clubs of the EGLSF, who also award the EuroGames, are not alllowed to decide on this matter and are not granted participation.

 

Why do we cancel EuroGames Düsseldorf completely now?

 

We are now in a situation, that can only be solved by one thing:

 

We cancel the EuroGames Düsseldorf completely.

 

  • Due to what we consider to be strong partisanship, focusing on the contractual situation and the behavior of the Board, a trustful cooperation with them is no longer possible for us.
  • We share the Board's concern that Happy Copenhagen with its large budget would be able to take legal measures against the Board. We want to avoid this despite our differences with the Board.
  • We wish the Board the strength and courage to enforce the EuroGames 2021 contract against Happy Copenhagen. Happy Copenhagen has so far neither adhered to the agreement between Rome, Düsseldorf and Copenhagen that was once made nor has it otherwise behaved in accordance with the contract. EuroGames 2021 is nowhere visible: no homepage, no advertising page, no logo - everything is subordinated to the marketing campaign for Copenhagen 2021 and EuroGames only appear in the second row.
  • The Board has failed in its own ambition to avoid a split. For us this has been achieved. Therefore, we are removing the stumbling block and are ending EuroGames Düsseldorf completely, as the board would like it to happen. The Board will have to be held accountable for this view and decision at the next EGA or AGA.
  • In the interest of the unity of the LGBITIQ* sports community, we will also refrain from holding any event in summer 2021.
  • We know that there was an external proposal to the Board to conduct a mediation with the Düsseldorf organizing committee. The Board has ignored this proposal.
  • Perhaps we have been attached to the idea of EuroGames in Düsseldorf with our heart and soul for too long. After helping out in Stockholm in 2015, formulating the Sports Guidelines together with Helsinki in 2016, defending the EGSLF in 2017 after Miami and trying hard to help Rome in 2019, also at the request of the Board, we now felt it was our turn to do it ourselves. We also made sure that there can finally be a uniform EGLSF registration tool and formulated a proposal for the missing inclusiveness concept of the EGLSF, which will now probably be used by other EuroGames for the first time.
  • We feel confident, that we would have had the best conditions in terms of hosting EuroGames:
    • The organization is based largely based on volunteers.
    • It is borne by LGBTIQ* sports clubs and not by a tourism or marketing company.
    • The organization has the knowledge and experience to organize sports tournaments of this scale.
    • The organizers are not solely focused on their games, they also have selflessly supported the vision of EuroGames with past and future organizers.
    • As with past Düssel-Cups, we have poured our heart and soul into this project, a fact that many registered participants have already confirmed with their feedback.

 

What does the future hold?

 

We hoped that, after the desasters of 2015 and 2019, we would be able to strengthen the faith in EuroGames again. EuroGames are games organized by EGLSF member clubs and they do not belong in the hands of marketing agencies or EGLSF-foreign associations, movements or companies.

 

We hope and wish for Nijmegen and then hopefully Bern in 2023 to submit evidence, that EuroGames, as a mostly voluntarily organized sports event from member clubs for member clubs, are possible to organize without having to rely on an additional marketing budget.

 

We hope that in the future the EGLSF will send out a signal to act on behalf of all member clubs and to protect the unity of the EGLSF. This also includes a truthful analysis of proceedings and no onesided assignments of guilt, no matter towards whom.

 

Reform agenda for the EGLSF

 

Based on the experienced desasters of 2015, 2019 and 2020 we see it as a necessary step to start a meaningful reform of the EGLSF and the Board, to secure the quality and execution of EuroGames for all those involved:

 

  1. EuroGames should always be a legally separated event with a separate budget and staff and it should not be contractually tied to other events. A cooperation with other events, that promote the EuroGames, is desirable but should not play a part in any decisions regarding the EuroGames.

 

  1. No member of the Board should be part of a bidding campaign for EuroGames.

 

  1. One member of the Board should have permanent responsibilty for the EuroGames. The liaison-system, where a new person is responsible for each EuroGames, has failed.

 

  1. One member of the Board should be “Head of Sports”. We are a sports association and it should not happen, as is has been the case for us, that nobody had a look at the sports concept. The approach of “sports specialists” is a good one, but there is an urgent need for one responsible person within the Board, that oversees the compliance with and development of the sports guidelines. In the case of Rome, it was us as the organizers of Düsseldorf, who uncovered faults in the concept for their sports program. This cannot and should not happen.

 

  1. The Board has to take the initiative seriously, to finally introduce an EGLSF-registration system for all future EuroGames. Up until three weeks ago, they said such a system would only be introduced if all EuroGames organizers can agree upon that. The wheel does not have to be reinvented each year and common system faults in the beginning don’t have to happen. At the same time, a general registration system would save money and ressources.

 

  1. The Board has to improve its internal communication. The communication between members of the Board has led to disastrous situations, up to the point where an untruth was communicated to the public in the ELGSF statement on the 18th of May. With this background, it would be advisable for the Board to take the appropriate measures.

 

  1. The EGLSF has to sort out the connections and contracts with related sports associations. It is unnecessary, that each EuroGames host has to figure out how to deal with associations like ESSDA, IGLFA, IGLA, PinkHockey, REFEX etc.

 

  1. The EGLSF should finally set up a fund to help kickstart the financing of hosting EuroGames in Prague, Warsaw or Krakow. In this day and age, those hosts cannot count on the financial support of the according city council, as it is almost self-evident for host from western Europe. But in cities in eastern Europe, the EuroGames would be particularly meaningful.

 

The Board and the AGA now have to acknowledge, that basic matters have to change.

 

We will gladly continue our work for the idea of EuroGames, as we already show with our continued support for the EuroGames 2022 in Nijmegen and with the support for the bid of an EGLSF club for the EuroGames 2024. By cancelling the EuroGames in Düsseldorf now, we don’t want to leave behind wreckage, but instead a positive legacy for the future.

 

The values and goals, that the EGLSF represents, are still dear to our hearts.

 

What will happen now?

 

We offer all registered participants the refund of 80% of all their payments. For this, we ask you to write a mail to register@eurogames2020.de that includes your registration number and bank details (IBAN&BIC if possible). All outreach donations will be handed over to Nijmegen 1:1, so that they can do something positive and meaningful with the money.

 

We explicitly thank all those people that have donated all or part of their payments when withdrawing from their registration. It means a lot to us and we appreciate this act of solidarity.

 

We also thank all our volunteers that have so far put in more than 20.000 hours of work, we thank the city of Düsseldorf and the state North Rhine-Westphalia, all our partners, the team of Nijmegen 2022 and especially, we thank all participants that fancied successful EuroGames in Düsseldorf.

 

That we have to disappoint you is what hurts us the most.

 

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