Spain has ceased all efforts to bid for the 2030 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, Spanish Olympic Committee (COE) president Alejandro Blanco announced Tuesday following an Executive Board meeting in Madrid.
The expected announcement came just days after joint bidders from Catalonia and Aragon ended venue distribution negotiations deadlocked, with each side accusing the other of playing politics and sabotaging the project.
“In the absence of an agreement between the Government of Aragon and the Generalitat de Catalunya, the candidacy for the 2030 Winter Games is blocked.” the COE wrote in a statement.
“The members of the [COE General Assembly] approved that in the absence of a political agreement on the distribution of sports events, all efforts would be made to the maximum with both Autonomous Communities, in order to present a joint candidacy.
“If, on the other hand, no agreement was reached, this candidacy would be terminated, without prejudice to the possibility of opening up the possibility for each of the territories, and new ones, to present their own candidacy to the COE, with the General Assembly who would decide, as has been done on other occasions, which of them would be the most appropriate to be presented to the International Olympic Committee for future editions.”
With bid rivals Salt Lake City, Sapporo and Vancouver already in advanced stages of dialogue with the International Olympic Committee (IOC), there is not enough time for Spain to develop a different project in another jurisdiction. Blanco has insisted that the COE will remain in continuous dialogue with the IOC’s Future Host Commission, aiming to present a “technically excellent, socially, economically and environmentally sustainable candidacy” for a future edition of the Winter Games, either in 2034 or beyond.
“We had other brilliant candidacies that didn’t go ahead because we were competing with very strong rival cities. But this one we have destroyed ourselves at our own home,” Blanco said at a press conference following the announcement, according to Reuters.
“There was no other way out than withdrawing our bid. We cannot spend months and months and months with the differences that there were.
“We were transforming an integrating project into a war between constitutionalists and independentists, the Olympic spirit is not about that.”
Indecision in the bid process had already led to the cancellation of two IOC technical team visits and the postponement of the planned July 24 referendum over the bid.
Spain had already failed in four bids to host the Winter Games since 1998.
There is no predetermined schedule for the election of future hosts, but last month the IOC confirmed that it intends to name targeted candidates in December ahead of a possible election next May 30 in Mumbai, India. No specific edition of the Games was mentioned, but the next available Winter Games is in 2030. The IOC has not ruled out the concurrent allocation of Games in 2034 as well.
The next Winter Games will be staged across Northern Italy by Milan-Cortina 2026.