Referendum on Spain’s 2030 Winter Olympics bid postponed amid collapse of project

A binding referendum scheduled to measure public support for the Pyrenees-Barcelona 2030 Olympic and Paralympic Games was postponed by the Catalan government Friday after the collapse of the bid earlier this week.

The Spanish Olympic Committee (COE) has vowed to reorganize a potential 2030 Winter Games campaign after regional partners in the joint bid, Catalonia and Aragon, failed to reach an agreement on venue allocation Monday.  However, technical plans remain in limbo and detailed information may not be available for voters for some time.

Originally set for July 24, the dual referendum organized in jurisdictions that would be impacted if the Spanish regions are to host the Games in 2030 has been called off but could be rescheduled if new bid plans are prepared.

Catalan presidency minister Laura Vilagrà said Friday according to Catalan News “we will reactivate the referendum decree once there is a deal and we know which competitions will be held in each place.”

COE President Alejandro Blanco said he is willing to work with any parties interested in pursuing the Games and has encouraged the previous joint partners to meet and reconcile their differences.

“Our calendar is set in hosting the games in 2030, therefore the referendum will take place in Autumn, but as early as possible,” Vilagrà said.

“The new scenario does not affect a potential candidacy as the International Olympic Committee (IOC) will make the decision in May 2023 on where the Games will be held.”

https://twitter.com/LauraVilagra/status/1530134627268055041

Earlier this month International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach confirmed that his organization is targeting a host election next May at the all-members Session in Mumbai, India, but eligible candidates must be chosen by his Executive Board this December in order to maintain the timeline.

Bach is expected to visit Blanco in Madrid next Wednesday.

Delays have already caused the postponement of two IOC technical visits to Spain, leaving the possible Pyrenees-Barcelona bid behind rivals Sapporo, Salt Lake City and Vancouver that have all already received the three member team for important meetings.

If Spain is not ready to host in 2030, Blanco said his team will remain in continuous dialogue with the IOC and target a 2034 Games instead.

As the political bickering between Catalonia and Aragon continues, with each accusing the other of sabotaging the process, Games opposition group ‘Stop JJOO’ has demanded all parties call off any future bid immediately.

“There is no political agreement, today it has been demonstrated for the umpteenth time,” Stop JJOO spokesperson Bernat Lavaquiol told La Mañana

“The IOC will not give the Games to the Pyrenees.”

About Robert Livingstone


A senior producer and award-winning journalist covering Olympic bid business as founder of GamesBids.com as well as providing freelance support for print and Web publications around the world. Robert Livingstone is a member of the Olympic Journalists Association and the International Society of Olympic Historians.