Spain withdraws from the race for the Winter Olympics in 2030

The Spanish Olympic Committee announced that due to the lack of agreement between Aragon and Catalonia, the Olympic candidacy ceased to exist.

Alejandro Blanco announces the withdrawal of the Spanish candidacy (COE)
Alejandro Blanco announces the withdrawal of the Spanish candidacy (COE)

The Spanish Olympic Committee (COE) announced this Tuesday that due to the lack of agreement between the Government of Aragon and the Generalitat of Catalonia, the candidacy for the 2030 Winter Games has been suspended.

In a press conference in Madrid, the president of the COE, Alejandro Blanco, acknowledged that despite a last effort, a joint candidacy could not be saved but “without prejudice to opening a new possibility later” for a future edition.

This Tuesday Blanco clarified the COE does not contemplate a project for a single region, since it would mean changing the approaches with which it attended the International Olympic Committee (IOC) more than a year ago.

Catalonia was determined to submit a solo candidacy at the last minute.

Blanco did not rule out the COE could present a winter Olympic project for 2034 to guarantee a “feasible” and “presentable” candidacy.

The president of the COE revealed that on June 13 a meeting was held with Christophe Dubi, executive director of the IOC Olympic Games, and Jacqueline Barrett, director of the Commission for Future Olympic Games Venues, to confirm the non-existence of an Olympic project due to lack of of agreements.

Due to this situation, during the last 12 months, two visits by IOC experts were canceled and two videoconference meetings with the IOC Commission were suspended.

The RFEDI and the RFEDH come together to support the Olympic candidacy of the Pyrenees-Barcelona 2030 project
SPORTS
RFEDI/RFEDH
The RFEDI and the RFEDH come together to support the Olympic candidacy of the Pyrenees-Barcelona 2030 project SPORTS RFEDI/RFEDH

Both parties issued a statement stating the COE wishes to continue working with the IOC with a view to holding the Winter Olympics in Spain, “despite the fact that at the present time it is not in a position to present an Olympic project "

“The IOC - adds the statement - hopes to continue with the excellent collaboration and dialogue, as until now”, with the Spanish Olympic Committee.

Blanco assured the COE has “fought so that there is understanding, respect and dialogue” but if these three aspects do not exist “we cannot continue”.

Since December 2021, the Spanish leader has held 11 meetings with technical or political managers of the two regional governments who did not agree on the distribution of sports events.

Aragon would have 54 tests with 2,138 athletes and Catalonia 42 with 2,520 athletes

The president of the COE explained initially a technical agreement was reached with Catalonia and Aragon for the distribution of venues. “But when the political representatives enter, there is no agreement, and what is worse, there is no progress,” he said accompanied by his Executive Committee at the Olympic body’s headquarters.

Blanco alluded to “the refusal of the Aragon government to respect the technical agreement.”

“It was not a project led by politics but by society”

“In the end, this project that was supposed to unite wills led to important internal political confrontations based in some cases on lies, disagreements, assumptions and sensitivities, an inadequate policy in an Olympic candidacy” lamented Blanco.

“The project came to an end (...) Let’s hope in the future we can present a technically solid application and without the inconveniences of this time,” he said.

A general view shows the natural park of the High Pyrenees in Montferrer, Spain April 23, 2022. REUTERS/Nacho Doce
A general view shows the natural park of the High Pyrenees in Montferrer, Spain April 23, 2022. REUTERS/Nacho Doce

This was the fifth attempt to bring the Games to the Pyrenees, one of Europe’s great mountain ranges, for the first time.

With the departure of the Spanish project, Sapporo (Japan), Salt Lake City (USA) and Vancouver (Canada) remain in the 2030 race. The announcement of the winner could be heard in early 2023.