Catalonia asks Spanish Olympic Committee to 'consider solo Catalan candidacy'

Presidency minister, on likelihood of 2030 Winter Games deal with Aragon: "I find it very difficult"

Baqueira Beret ski station (by Baqueira Beret)
Baqueira Beret ski station (by Baqueira Beret) / Cillian Shields, Guifré Jordan, and Lorcan Doherty

ACN | Barcelona

June 15, 2022 01:13 PM

The Catalan government has asked the Spanish Olympic Committee (COE) to "consider a solo Catalan candidacy" for the 2030 Winter Games following a series of very public disagreements with the neighboring region of Aragon, with which Catalonia was initially expected to present a joint bid.

This is what Catalan presidency minister Laura Vilagrà said on Wednesday morning in an interview with Catalunya Ràdio.

Catalonia has had "informal" talks with the COE about hosting the games only in the Catalan Pyrenees, she said, adding that possibly bidding to hold them four years later, in 2034, had not been ruled out either.

As for reaching an agreement with Aragon, Vilagrà said she found it "very difficult."

Aragon was quick to respond to her comments, with the region's own presidency minister, Mayte Pérez, calling a potential solo Catalan candidacy "absolutely unacceptable." If such a bid goes ahead, she said, Aragon will go to great lengths to denounce it. 

Catalonia-Aragon dispute

After much deliberation over where each sports event should take place, on March 28 the COE, the Spanish Olympics Committee, announced a deal between Catalonia and the neighboring territory of Aragon to bid for the 2030 Games.

The Catalan government then confirmed its support for the agreement, but Aragon failed to do so. The day after the COE announcement, the president of Aragon, Socialist Javier Lambán, openly rejected it and said he would counter with a "fair and more balanced" proposal. 

Catalonia, however, maintains that the issue is closed, and has even suggested there could be electoral interests behind Lambán's apparent U-turn, while the COE stated on April 1 that it would move forward with what it described as the "agreed upon" deal. 

Catalan and Aragonese authorities have met again twice since then, most recently on June 7, but are yet to reach a deal. 

Filling the Sink

Listen to the Filling the Sink podcast episode from February 5 to learn more about the contentious 2030 Winter Olympics candidacy.