The Guatemalan Olympic Committee has been threatened with suspension by the IOC if governance issues are not resolved by October 15 ©Getty Images

The Central American Sports Organization (ORDECA) has cancelled this year's Central American Games amid the looming threat of co-host Guatemala being suspended by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

At last week's Executive Board meeting, the IOC granted the Guatemalan Olympic Committee (COG) a "very last chance" to resolve legal issues with its governance, but warned it would be suspended from October 15 should the matter not be resolved.

The Central American Games had been due to take place in Guatemala and Costa Rica from October 27 to November 13, after Santa Tecla in El Salvador pulled out earlier this year.

However, ORDECA's Executive Committee has now decided to cancel this year's edition of the multi-sport event altogether.

It blamed "the governance situation that affects the normal operation of the National Olympic Committee of Guatemala in accordance with the Olympic Charter" and "the administrative and financial insecurity that such a situation entails".

The next edition of the Central American Games is not scheduled until 2025, and ORDECA said that applications to host this event would open next year.

It also expressed its support of the IOC's stance outlined in a letter from July, "which reiterates that the National Olympic Committees must be free from interference in their internal governance and operations in accordance with the principle of autonomy of the Olympic Movement established in the Olympic Charter".

This year's Central American Games have been cancelled, with the next edition due to be held in 2025 ©Managua 2017
This year's Central American Games have been cancelled, with the next edition due to be held in 2025 ©Managua 2017

Athletes from Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama had been due to participate in the Central American Games, which were last held in Nicaragua's capital Managua in 2017.

The COG has been plunged into crisis after Guatemala's Constitutional Court provisionally suspended several of its statutes and regulations and the election of the Executive Committee chaired by Gerardo Aguirre, who is recognised by the IOC as the winner of elections earlier this year.

Guatemala's Electoral Court of Federated Sports named Jorge Alexander Rodas as the victor of the Presidential election, and he appealed to the country's highest court which brought about its decision on the COG statutes.

Magistrates have rejected an appeal from the COG to overturn the decision, despite a demonstration from around 50 Guatemalan athletes.

A meeting between COG and national authorities in Guatemala is expected to yield a proposed solution, which needs to be submitted to the IOC by September 25.

If a solution is found before the cut-off of October 15, a report would be delivered to the IOC Executive Board, which has the power to lift the planned measures.