Spanish Olympic Committee to choose between Catalan and Aragonese projects if no agreement is reached

Alejandro Blanco opens the door to a Catalan-only candidacy for the first time

2 min
Alejandro Blanco, President of the Spanish Olympic Committee

BarcelonaAn extraordinary assembly of the Spanish Olympic Committee (COE) will choose between the Catalan and Aragonese projects for the 2030 Winter Games if their governments do not reach an agreement. Nevertheless, a joint project remains the priority, and COE will continue to work with this purpose, according to its president, Alejandro Blanco.

COE's ordinary annual assembly unanimously approved to continue talks to form a Pyrenean candidacy involving both Catalonia and Aragon. But it also agreed to present a project to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and, if there are two separate proposals, one from each region, the COE assembly will vote on which one goes ahead. "This Committee has already chosen between Jaca and Granada in a bid for the Winter Games and between Seville and Madrid for the summer Games. We have assumed this. But to choose between two candidacies would not be our preferred outcome, which would be that an agreement is reached. I still believe in this," said Blanco after the assembly.

After eleven meetings, the two governments were unable to reach an agreement on a distribution of tests and venues that satisfies both parties. The last proposal on paper has 54 events and 2,138 athletes in Aragon and 42 events and 2,608 athletes in Catalonia. Another 960 participants would compete outside Spain, in disciplines such as ski jumping, for which there are no facilities in the Pyrenees.

In 2002 the EOC assembly had to choose between Jaca and Granada as the Spanish candidate for the 2010 Winter Games and in 2003 it did the same with Seville and Madrid as candidates for the 2012 Summer Games. Jaca and Madrid were the winners of these internal elections, although neither was later chosen to host the Olympic Games.

Thomas Bach's visit

The president of the IOC, the German Thomas Bach, will visit Madrid this Wednesday to sign a memorandum related to the reception of refugees and to visit a sports centre in Getafe where they train. Blanco will have the opportunity to brief him on the decisions taken today around the 2030 bid and the next day, he said, he will resume talks in search of an agreement. "I will meet with both of them to see if there is a possibility of rapprochement and, if there is, another meeting to iron out differences. I hope an agreement is reached," he said.

The EOC assembly was attended by Juan Antonio Samaranch, IOC vice-president, who, according to Blanco, is "one hundred percent in agreement with the approach". From now on, then, the Committee will continue talking with the central, Catalan and Aragonese governments.