BarcelonaWednesday, June 1, was the date that the Spanish Olympic Committee (COE) had set as the deadline for submitting a candidacy to bring the Winter Olympics to the Pyrenees for the first time in 2030. It was the day of the visit of the President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Thomas Bach, to Madrid, to sign a global agreement to help refugee athletes. But Bach has arrived in Madrid and there was no agreement, as the COE has failed to agree with the government of Aragon on how the seats of the candidacy should be distributed. Its president, Alejandro Blanco, therefore announced that without an agreement the solution will be for Catalonia and Aragon, if they so wish, to present a candidacy alone and for the COE to decide which of the two will be chosen.
And Catalonia wants to take the plunge. The Government is ready to present a candidacy alone, as confirmed by the Minister of the Presidency, Laura Vilagrà, after the event at the headquarters of the Spanish Olympic Committee with the presence of Blanco and Bach. Vilagrà recalled that they are willing to “collaborate” with the Aragonese executive but that, if no agreement can be reached, the Generalitat’s reports “guarantee” the option of appearing alone. In fact, Catalonia has made a report on what this solo candidacy would look like, since initially the project was like this. A candidacy between Barcelona and the Catalan Pyrenees. When the proposal was submitted to the COE, however, from Madrid it was proposed to include tests in the Aragonese territory, but its president, Javier Lambán, has not welcomed any of the proposals. The Vice President of the Government, Jordi Puigneró, recalled in an interview with Catalunya Ràdio that it was initially Catalonia that proposed the candidacy alone and accused Lambán of acting in an “irresponsible” way.
Laura Vilagrà, in fact, has personally conveyed to the top officials of the International Olympic Committee that Catalonia is in a position to present its own candidacy for the 2030 Winter Games if there is finally no agreement for a joint candidacy with Aragon. The Minister was able to have a brief conversation with Thomas Bach, IOC Vice President Juan Antonio Samaranch, and other members of the International Committee and COE team. According to these sources, the IOC leaders have been told that they can count on Catalonia to present its own candidacy alone, in the event that there is no agreement for a joint candidacy with Aragon.
Vilagrà recalled that “Catalonia’s will is to have some Games. We have worked hard on the technical committee, always providing proposals and ideas. We have never gotten off the table and our willingness to collaborate has always been evident,” he said. “Our proposal is collaborative and not exclusive, but we will not give up the possibility of having a Games.”
Outrage in Aragon
In fact, the Aragonese government on Wednesday accused the president of the Spanish Olympic Committee, Alejandro Blanco, of acting as the “political commissar” of Catalonia and demanded that he take a “step back” as an interlocutor in the negotiations for a candidacy because it has “deceived” Aragon and lost its “legitimacy”. According to the spokeswoman for the Aragonese government, “with every decision taken by Blanco, he defends the position of Catalonia to place Aragon as the culprit.” The spokeswoman said that for Aragon the option of running alone “does not exist”. “We will insist on a joint option, on a country proposal,” she said.
The governments of Catalonia, Aragon and the COE will continue to negotiate in the coming days. If no agreement is reached, Catalonia will present its proposal alone, with the alpine skiing events in La Molina and Masella, biathlon and cross-country skiing also in the area of Pla d’Anyella del Ripollès, within the complex of the Molina. Thesnowboard and the freestyle they would follow Baqueira-Beret. The ice tests will be carried out in Barcelona, but also in Sabadell and Badalona.