Referendum on Spain’s 2030 Winter Olympics bid postponed due to project collapse

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A binding referendum planned to gauge public support for the Pyrenees-Barcelona 2030 Olympic and Paralympic Games was postponed by the Catalan government on Friday after the bid failed earlier this week.

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

Originally scheduled for July 24, the double referendum held in jurisdictions that would be impacted if Spanish regions were to host the Games in 2030 has been canceled but could be rescheduled if new bid plans are prepared.

Catalan Presidency Minister Laura Vilagrà said on Friday according to Catalan News “We will reactivate the referendum decree once there is an agreement and we know which competitions will take place in each location.”

COE President Alejandro Blanco said he was willing to work with all interested parties to continue the Games and encouraged previous joint partners to meet and reconcile their differences.

“Our schedule is set to host the games in 2030, so the referendum will take place in the fall, but as soon as possible,” Vilagrà said.

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

Earlier this month, International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach confirmed that his organization was aiming for a host election next May at the All Members Session in Mumbai, India, but eligible candidates must be chosen by its executive council in 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 eventual Pyrenees-Barcelona bid behind rivals Sapporo, Salt Lake City and Vancouver who have all already hosted 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 aim for the 2034 Games instead.

As the political wrangling between Catalonia and Aragon continues, with each accusing the other of sabotaging the process, the Games opposition group ‘Stop JJOO’ has demanded that all parties immediately cancel any future bids.

“There is no political agreement, today it is demonstrated for the umpteenth time”, declared Bernat Lavaquiol, spokesman for Stop JJOO. La Manana

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

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