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US Cities In Worlds 2010 'Plan B' Role

Dec 21, 2009  - Craig Lord

Two American cities are being considered as possible alternatives to Dubai should the UAE venue prove unable to meet contractual obligations to stage the FINA world s/c championships in December 2010, SwimNews understands. Las Vegas and Indianapolis have been cited by sources as the two most likely candidates for the job if Dubai pins up a "champs for sale".

FINA and Dubai maintain that the show will go on in the Middle East a year from now but serious financial difficulties, despite bailouts from neighboring states and the likelihood that investors (from Europe and elsewhere in the world) in mega construction projects will want to see a return on their money at some stage, are not being ignored.

The international swimming federation has no intention of upsetting Dubai and has made clear that it wishes no change in venue for the only world-level swimming championship next year. 

However, it would be foolish on a financial and strategic basis for FINA not to have a fall-back Plan B (something that booming Dubai will surely understand) in case the partly built aquatics centre in a desert location with little evidence of infrastructure around it as yet cannot be completed in time for an October world cup trial in 2010. The same venue is to host the 2013 world l/c championships, allowing Dubai a little more time to prepare. 

This month, an Austrian official suggested that his federation had been approached by FINA officials to talk about potentially stepping in to host the 2010 event. However, FINA's response was that "Dubai will host" the world championships.

Indianapolis staged a fine s/c world championships at a venue stacked with atmosphere back in 2004 and is used to hosting events. As such it is the more likely of the two US cities cited by sources to be able to step in at short notice. USA Swimming, its officials and Indy are well known to each other. The 2004 event was housed in the Conseco Fieldhouse, while the IUPUI Natatorium has been a regular venue for some phenomenal competitions down the years.

Las Vegas offers glamour and fits the bill in terms of the FINA tradition of not wishing to return to the same venue too often. That said, Dubai will host two world championships within four years should it manage to out the show on in 2010, while Shanghai, fresh from the 2006 world s/c champs will host the 2011 world l/c championships that lead into Olympic year and London 2012.