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Catalonia will not host the 2030 Winter Olympics because there will be no candidacy. This morning, the Spanish Olympic Committee has abandoned its quest to submit a bid for the 2030 Games, while leaving the door open for a solo candidacy by Catalonia for 2034. The COE had sought to work at all times for a joint Pyrenees bid between Catalonia and Aragón, but this was not possible in the end due to the constant objections of the Aragonese president, Javier Lambán, who asserted that the design of the proposed candidacy was purely political, to please Catalonia, and not based on technical criteria. At one point, Lambán even went as far as demanding the resignation of Alejandro Blanco, who even in these circumstances opted to negotiate with Aragón, although the president of the Spanish Olympic body also reached a level of exasperation with the attitude of the president of Aragón which led him to open the door to choosing between the two territories in separate candidacies.

Wrecking the negotiations

Last Thursday, before the COE made its final decision to rule out any bid for 2030, according to the newspaper Ara, Catalan minister Laura Vilagrà had already ruled out this joint candidacy and put a Games proposal featuring all-Catalan venues and locations on the table. Specifically, she announced that he was going to commission the director of the Catalan government's technical team to prepare a "Catalan" candidacy for the 2030 Winter Games. This will now have to be for 2034 after the decision of the COE. Last week, Vilagrà explicitly pointed the finger at the "anti-Catalanism" of the Lambán government for wrecking the negotiations for a joint candidacy, all with an eye to gaining an advantage in the autonomous elections in Aragón, set for 2023. For example, in the face of this announcement by Vilagrà, the Socialist leader replied that a solo Catalan bid "would distance the project from being one of country and state", and thus would lead to a "completely emphatic response on our part, which we would take to all national and international spheres", in the face of what he saw as "a very serious territorial problem and also a very serious political crisis".

Aragón's approach

Thus, the 2030 Games bid was finally ruled out last week, once all negotiations between Aragón, on the one hand, and the COE and Catalonia, on the other, had failed. The latest proposal by the Catalan government alone, the creation of a bid with all-Catalan venues and organization, did not convince Blanco, who has worked up till now for an understanding that would allow the two territories to reach an agreement and be represented in the Games, according to the request he was given on the subject from the Spanish prime minister, Pedro Sánchez.

On June 7th, the COE and the Catalan government had already rejected the proposal of the Aragonese government, which after breaking away from the technical distribution agreement reached by the three parties at the end of March proposed a division by drawing straws under which Aragón and Catalonia would each retain one modality (male or female) in each competition. The formula, according to the Lambán government, would have guaranteed that the games would take place "on equal terms". 

Electoral competition

Sources from the Spanish executive last week attributed the difficulties in reaching an agreement with the Aragonese president to the close electoral contest that he faces with the PP in his territory and the proximity of the next elections, in May 2023. COE sources offer a similar reading and accuse Aragón of deliberately torpeding the agreements reached without taking into account the revenue and the projection that the Games would have represented for its territory, along similar lines to the statements made by Vilagrà.