New mess in sight. The Spanish Olympic Committee (COE) has formalized through a letter addressed to the central government, the Generalitat of Catalonia and the government of Aragon a definitive technical agreement for the candidacy for the 2030 Winter Olympics, but the Aragonese Executive assures that “He’s studying it.” The Aragonese Minister of Education, Felipe Faci, added that Javier Lambán’s government team will make “another proposal” if he is not convinced and if “equality” between territories is not guaranteed. Aragón’s misgivings arrive just three hours after the letter was sent.
The distribution of the Olympic tests, according to the letter from the COE, was already “discussed and agreed” by the representatives of Aragon who were part of the technical commission, together with the members of Catalonia, the committee itself and the central government. The government of Aragon already rejected on Friday that there was a technical agreement, and this Monday it demanded to agree on the name of the candidacy and the venues for the opening and closing before formalizing anything else. “To sign a protocol, we believe that everything must be included, not just the distribution [de las pruebas]: also the name of the candidacy and the venues of the opening and closing ceremonies”, insisted Faci.
The response of the Aragonese Executive has surprised the COE, which throughout the weekend has intensified contacts to recover ties with Javier Lambán’s government team (PSOE). Relations with the Aragonese president and the rest of the interlocutors are complex, according to different sources consulted.
The letter from the COE seeks the endorsement of those responsible for all the administrations involved (Generalitat, Aragón government and central government) to start a new phase of dialogue with the International Olympic Committee (IOC). In any case, it will be the international committee that definitively determines the location of all the disciplines.
The distribution proposed by the national committee is the same that was agreed at the last meeting of the technical commission, according to the COE, last Tuesday, and in which the committee, the Generalitat and the central government interpreted that the agreement was total, unlike Aragon. The distribution would bring to Catalonia the alpine skiing events (La Molina and Masella), snowboard, freestyle (Baqueira), mountain skiing (Boí is an option, although it has yet to be decided), and ice hockey (Barcelona); while Aragón takes on the long-distance events, biathlon (Candanchú), curling (Jaca) and ice skating and speed tests (Zaragoza).
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It remains to define the location of the jump tests and the ice tube (skeleton, bobseigh and luge), which would be held in another country where these facilities already exist. The IOC rejects the construction of new infrastructure to host the Games and supports the relocation of these tests. The COE studies a branch in Sarajevo (Bosnia), France or Italy.
The announcement comes after the intensification of contacts between the COE and the government of Aragon, this weekend, to unblock a situation entrenched since Friday at the technical level. The Executive of Javier Lambán rejected that there was no agreement and assured that he had “total mistrust” with his interlocutors. Hours later, Lambán himself assured that the candidacy “is advancing thanks to the good work of the president of the COE.” The president of Aragon will refer to this matter this Tuesday morning in a government act.
The next challenge of the candidacy is to specify the definitive name, an issue that the COE has wanted to delay until it has a technical agreement. The choice of the opening and closing ceremonies is also pending. The Generalitat has always claimed the need for Barcelona to be a brand of the candidacy for its “Olympic prestige”. The Catalan capital would recover the Palau Sant Jordi for the ice disciplines, and is awaiting the evolution of other spaces to take advantage of them, such as the Espai Barça, because the ice tests in the city require two ice pavilions, one of 10,000 spectators, and another 6,000.
The technical agreement announced by the COE would be a second step for the Olympic challenge, after the official announcement of the national committee to the IOC to host the Games. The advance, in any case, does not seem definitive in the face of the constant differences between the Aragon government and the COE and Catalonia.
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