Olympic Committee rules out candidacy to host 2030 Winter Olympics

Its president, Alejandro Blanco, will make it official in the next few hours

2 min
Councilors Vilagra and Alsina present the logistics of the Gachos d Invierno consultation, Palau de la Generalitat, Barcelona.

Barcelona / MadridCatalonia and Aragon's joint candidacy to host the 2030 Winter Olympic Games has been definitively discarded. The Spanish Olympic Committee (COE) plans to make an official announcement in the coming hours, after officially informing political authorities. As ARA reported a week ago, the project was on the ropes and, at least for now, an exclusively Catalan candidacy would not be accepted. The COE, however, clearly blames Aragonese president Javier Lambán for the candidacy's failure and accuses him of having boycotted the candidacy out of "anti-Catalanism" and "electoral interests". Even so, the COE remains hopeful that the work done so far will be useful to present another candidacy for 2034 which, this time around, will be a winner.

The discomfort with Lambán by all parties involved in the candidacy is monumental, since the technicians appointed by Aragón were the ones who, in the meeting held on December 21, 2021, made the proposal for the distribution of events between the two territories, and it was precisely Catalonia who voted against it. Yet the proposal was approved and the Generalitat said that despite its initial opposition, from that moment on it would defend the candidacy. However, Lambán later changed his mind and refused to support the agreement and demanded changes to increase Aragón's weight in the events. The COE, however, considered that the Aragonese president's decision was political in nature and that it would have been useless to make concessions. "If we had given him a ski run later he would have wanted something else. He himself has admitted that he did not want a joint candidacy with the Catalans, this is the only reason," they say. "Besides, he already had events in all the three [Aragonese] valleys, which was what he wanted at the beginning", they conclude.

The COE is optimistic about a 2034 candidacy because they consider Catalonia has left a very good impression on the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and opens the door for this candidacy to be led by the Generalitat, exploring possible collaborations even with Andorra. They also emphasise that the decision on these games will still be taken by the current IOC team, which already looked favourably on the 2030 Games. What they do not see room for is to present a Catalan-only candidacy for 2030, since this means changing the project and assuming that the other project has failed, and under these conditions it is impossible for the IOC to give it the go-ahead.

Sánchez and Iceta's position

The Olympic candidacy was seen by the COE as a "technically improvable" project in relation to other proposals to host the 2030 Winter Olympics, but unbeatable in terms of territorial regeneration and "policy ¡of rapprochement through sport" with Catalonia the State is seeking. The promoters hold socialist Lambán responsible for the failure, while they are sympathetic to Spanish PM Pedro Sánchez and Sports Minister Miquel Iceta's position, who did not intervene and from the outset they left the negotiation in the hands of the COE. They do regret that neither the most affected area, Huesca, nor the region's economic and political sectors, in reference to the Aragonese PP, have had enough strength to get Lambán to rectify. Huesca's Provincial Council even proposed to the COE to sideline the Aragonese government from the negotiation, which was unfeasible.