Spain’s bid to host the Olympic Winter Games in 2030 has been put on hold amid the global coronavirus pandemic, government officials confirmed this week.
The Pyrenees-Barcelona 2030 Winter Games bid was to be confirmed with an application sent to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in July, likely in conjunction with the now-postponed Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. But scheduling difficulties caused by the ongoing COVID-19 crisis in Spain has halted the process, according to Spanish sports website Palco 23.
General Secretary for Sport of Catalan Gerard Figueras told Parliament that the Spanish Olympic Committee (COE) needs to align with the three jurisdictions that hope to organize the event including the government of Catalonia, Aragon and Spain. Until the bodies can come together, Figueras said the project will remain on hold.
According to Palco 23 opposition parties in parliament are accusing the Generalitat of Catalonia of lacking leadership on the issue.
Figueras has explained that the technical work for the bid is complete, but an endorsement from the Spanish government is required to move the project forward.
There is no set timetable for the awarding of the 2030 Games after the seven-year rule was dropped from the bid process last year. In January the IOC announced that groups representing Salt Lake City, Sapporo and Pyrenees-Barcelona had engaged in discussion about hosting “future Games.”
At that time IOC President Thomas Bach hinted that the selection of the 2030 host could be accelerated and occur within the year.
In February a member of Vancouver’s city council tabled motions supporting a bid from that city, but the emerging pandemic put that effort, and the other bids, on hold.
Earlier this month officials from the Salt Lake City-Utah Committee for the Games said they were quickly organizing plans but could not confirm whether the Unites States Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) would move forward with a bid for the 2030 or 2034 edition of the Games.
As the pandemic continues, the IOC is focused on the safe and careful delivery of both the Tokyo 2020 Games (in July 2021) and the Beijing 2022 Winter Games. The election of the 2030 Games could be pushed well into 2022 or beyond.
Spanish IOC member Juan Antonio Samaranch told Mundo Deportivo this week “our traditional deadline would be seven years earlier, that is, 2023, although we had the idea, pre-COVID-19, to advance it.”
“But now it is clear that we must concentrate on Tokyo, and on the Beijing 2022 Olympics, seven months apart.”
Samaranch remains optimistic on the prospects of the Spanish bid, he said “we know that Barcelona is working very well with the public administrations, and on this issue it is perhaps one of the few things that they agree on.”
“The fact that Olympism and sport pass over political disputes is comforting, really.
“But it is essential that for the Pyrenees-Barcelona candidacy to go ahead there must be a total quorum among public administrations.
“If there is no reliable, solid, powerful public agreement from the central government, Aragon, Generalitat, City Council, Provincial Council, better not go.
“This is everyone’s project, or nobody’s. A project of the youth, of society, that they agree, as in Barcelona 92. If not, it is not worth continuing”.
Barcelona last hosted the Summer Games in 1992, and could be the second city to host both seasonal editions of the Games should it get the nod from the IOC. Beijing will be the first after the 2022 event.