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Spanish Olympic Committee 'opens possibility' for solo Catalan bid for Winter Games beyond 2030

Olympic authority in Spain rules out bringing Catalonia-Aragon 2030 project to IOC: 'We cannot place a bid now'

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21 June 2022 09:05 PM

by

Guifré Jordan | Barcelona

The Spanish Olympic Committee (COE) has "opened the possibility" for a future solo Catalan bid for the Winter Olympics, but confirmed that it would have to wait until at least 2034 – this ends hopes of Pere Aragonès' cabinet, which is already working on a solo project, to host the Games in 8 years' time. 

The organization's president, Alejandro Blanco, said in a press conference on Tuesday evening that the path of a shared bid for 2030 between Catalonia and its neighboring region, Aragon, is now over.

Indeed, he said that the COE and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) have made a joint statement in which the former makes clear that talks between the territories involved have failed. "We cannot place a bid now," he said revealing the content of the document.

Blanco also explained that one year ago his office submitted a letter to IOC expressing Spain's interest in hosting the event in a shared bid between Catalonia and Aragon, and, since this possibility is now over according to him, any alternative for 2030 is no longer possible. 

"The bid can only be shared for 2030. If our bid involved two areas and they do not find consensus, you cannot aim for the same goal saying 'no, we are now bidding but only with half of it,'" he said, appealing to his institution's "prestige."

Yet, he did say that if any of the two territories of this failed project, that is, Catalonia or Aragon, want to plan a solo candidacy for 2034 or even further in the future, they have to put together a project and presented before COE. "And when this is prepared, we will talk to IOC," he added. 

Blanco explained the whole procedure that led to the current dead-end, making clear the Aragonese government "denied the original technical agreement" after their own team had accepted it. 

COE and Catalonia blame Aragon

Indeed, after much deliberation over where each sports event should take place, on March 28 the COE announced a deal between Catalonia and Aragon.

The Catalan executive 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. 

On May 25, Alejandro Blanco blamed Aragon for having broken the consensus originally reached with Barcelona.

"We cannot hold six meetings and then, when a deal is done, say that it is all useless," he said, explaining that the agreement would have seen 54 events take place in Aragon and 42 in Catalonia.

During the spring, several alternative proposals were discussed but none were agreed on and the project ended up failing.

While Catalonia has blamed Aragon for weeks too, it also put its eyes on the Spanish government. 

The Spanish government "allowed [the president of Aragon] to spout nonsense during these last months," said on Tuesday the Catalan cabinet's spokesperson, Patrícia Plaja.

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  • Spanish Olympic Committee's president, Alejandro Blanco, during an event in Barcelona on May 4, 2022 (by Lluís Sibils/Miquel Vera)

  • Spanish Olympic Committee's president, Alejandro Blanco, during an event in Barcelona on May 4, 2022 (by Lluís Sibils/Miquel Vera)

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