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No Bidders Yet For 2012 European Champs

Feb 16, 2011  - Craig Lord

News Round-Up:

Europe: at its May meeting in Iceland, the European swimming league (LEN) will discuss the lack of a host nation for its 2012 European l/c Championships after Vienna confirmed that it no longer wished to be considered a candidate. The worldwide financial crisis and the high costs of staging large multi-sports events have contributed to a harsh climate for those running international sports and seeking hosts for their events. Last year, LEN relied on Budapest and Eindhoven to step in to host its two largest events within two to four years of their last commitment to the continental governing body because no other bidders stepped forward. Both Budapest and Eindhoven staged successful events on constrained budgets. At world level, FINA had to approach cities to seek interest for the 2013 world championships after Dubai won the bid then withdrew. On the second time of asking, those Dubai beat, Moscow and Hamburg, both said 'no thanks'. After discussions involving Spanish federation representatives and FINA, Barcelona stepped in to host the 2013 event.  

Spain: in the wake of the 2010 decision to let swimmer Rafa Munoz (ESP) off the hook after he missed three anti-doping tests (on the grounds that a doctor came forward to say that the swimmer was psychologically vulnerable at the time of one of the missed tests, months before he won the 50m 'fly European crown), cyclist Alberto Contador has been let off by Spanish authorities despite having tested positive for a banned substance during last summer's Tour de France. The decision of the Spanish cycling federation's competition and discipline committee, which noted that the levels of clenbuterol in the athlete's system was 400 times less than the minimum-concentration threshold for WADA labs to detect and accepted the cyclist's stance that he had eaten contaminated steak. One of the interesting aspects of the case is that in Spain, just about any authority quoted, including Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, publicly declares the athlete "innocent", when neutrality would have been more appropriate. Chairman of the Spanish cycling federation's disciplinary committee, Fernando Uruburu, insisted that the panel "has acted independently". The UCI and WADA may now appeal the case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport should they feel they have grounds.

Britain: The National Audit Office, in its fifth annual report on London 2012 preparations, notes that venues are now 79 per cent complete but concludes that final costs for the Games project are "inherently uncertain". Some risks have been reduced, it says, while £974m of the original £2.7bn public sector contingency fund remains - but there is no guarantee that this will cover 'unknown risks'. The audit office raises concerns over six promises made by ministers since June 2008, including regeneration of east London, sustainability of the Olympic Park, and legacy, economic, social and sporting. Criticism extends to a Government Olympic Executive that has little ability to ensure that promises are met and an absence of plans to monitor and coordinate what happens in the wake of the Games. It also notes: "Government has not yet estimated the net benefits it expects to accrue that can be directly attributed to the Games." In the life of a politician, state or sporting? A tad too long-term and beyond their realm, that thought, perhaps.

France: Minister of Sports Chantal Jouanno yesterday met Frances Luyce, president of the French swimming federation (FFN) , and state planners to discuss the blueprint for the Aubervilliers aquatics complex. Work that was scheduled to have started in spring 2010 has been delayed for many months now. The latest development is the state's pledge of a further 1 million euros that takes its commitment to 15.9m euros on a project estimated at 71.3m euros. From mid-March, a project piloting committee, including representatives of the FFN, will begin its work. The committee must include delegates who are elected representatives of regions of France outside the locality of the swim complex.