World OutGames Miami Cancels Almost All Sporting Events as Fraud Investigation Opens

The organizers of the World OutGames that were scheduled to begin in Miami May 26, have abruptly announced the cancellation of the majority of the sporting events.

The Board of Directors of World OutGames made the announcement Friday by email and on Facebook: “It is with deep regret that due to financial burdens, World OutGames must cancel opening and closing ceremonies and sports programming with the exception of aquatics, country western dance and soccer. The Human Rights Conference and cultural programs will continue as planned. We thank everyone who has supported the effort and apologize to those who will be impacted by this difficult decision.”

The Washington Blade reported that LGBT athletes from around the world were expected to take part in the games that were scheduled to take place through June 4. OutGames Miami organizers in their email said a human rights conference that began on Friday in Miami Beach and “cultural programs will continue as planned.”

“We thank everyone who has supported the effort and apologize to those who will be impacted by this difficult decision,” said the organizers.

However, in a post earlier today the City of Miami Beach along with the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau (GMCVB) and the Miami Beach Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce announced they had worked with the event’s logistics organizers to restore many of the events that were planned.

The post read:

“In the last 24 hours alone, the Miami Beach Parks and Recreation Department was able to confirm and staff:
Field Hockey tournament in the Flamingo Park soccer field on Monday, May 29 through Wednesday, May 31
Soccer Finals in the Flamingo Park Stadium on Friday, June 2;
and relocated the Indoor Basketball tournament to the Scott Rakow Youth Center on Sunday, May 28 through Monday, May 29.

“City staff is working with the regular Lummus Park beach volleyball community to keep and manage the volleyball tournament as scheduled at the 7th Street volleyball courts from Tuesday, May 30 through Friday, June 2.

“In addition, the city and GMCVB are welcoming all registered athletes and their families to a reception Wednesday night, May 31, at the Miami Beach Botanical Garden to express the true nature of Miami Beach hospitality.

“The city is extremely proud of our business and cultural partners, which have stepped up to offer free and discounted admission and services to all OutGames attendees. The list of such partners includes the Miami Design and Preservation League, the Palace Bar, the Gaythering Hotel and the Gay Men’s Chorus, which offered free admission to all OutGames attendees to their performance last night at the city’s Colony Theater.

“Thank you Miami Beach.”

The Miami New Times reported Miami Beach Police and the Miami-Dade County State Attorney’s Office have opened a fraud investigation into World OutGames.

“Due to the potential misappropriation of funds, the Miami Beach Police Department and the State Attorney’s Office have conferred and are jointly opening a fraud investigation,” City Spokesperson Melissa Berthier announced.