— Published 16 May 2022

Thomas Bach in Madrid

A breakthrough for Barcelona and the Pyrenees’ bid for the 2030 Winter Games? Thomas Bach, the president of the IOC, will be visiting Spain on 1 June. He is due to stop off in the capital, Madrid. Officially, his visit has nothing to do with the Catalonia and Pyrenees Olympic project. The German leader is due to visit a refugee centre in Getafe, near Madrid, where the Spanish Olympic Committee (COE) aims to receive around 200 of the tens of thousands of refugees taken in by Spain. But Thomas Bach’s presence could prove decisive for Spain’s bid for the 2030 Winter Games. Alejandro Blanco, the president of the EOC, explained this to the Efe agency: “On 1 June, the president of the IOC, Thomas Bach, will come to Madrid. If we still have a bid, we need to know at least ten days before his visit so that we can present him with something concrete on that day. A lot or a little, but we have to show him something“. For Alejandro Blanco, the Spanish Olympic project must still be alive on 20 May at the latest and have settled all or part of the differences between Catalonia and Aragon over the distribution of competition venues. Otherwise, the Winter Games bid will be effectively buried. “An agreement will have to be signed by the two regional presidents and the Spanish government, insisted Alejandro Blanco. If not, we’ll drop it and start thinking about something else, in 2034 or whenever.” As a reminder, a delegation of IOC experts has been touring the candidate cities of Salt Lake City, Sapporo and Vancouver over the past few weeks on a technical tour. The delegation was due to visit Spain in May, but the visit was cancelled as the Spanish project leaders did not feel ready to receive the IOC envoys.