Beach volleyball and climbing among possible Munich 2022 sports additions

General view of Olympic Park and Olympic Stadium Munich (Photo by Hannes Magerstaedt/Getty Images)

Munich’s city council has cleared the way for an expansion of the 2022 edition of the multi-sport European Championships to up to nine sports.

The city’s Department for Education and Sport told the Süddeutsche Zeitung that the city council gave its approval yesterday (Wednesday).

The approval to expand the sports programme follows on from golf’s recent withdrawal from the games after the European Tour and Ladies European Tour cited scheduling issues.

It is thought that beach volleyball, sports climbing, canoeing and table tennis are currently under consideration to be added to the sports programme.

Golf’s exit left just athletics, cycling, gymnastics, rowing and triathlon on the Munich 2022 schedule. A decision on the make-up of the sports for Munich 2022 is expected by the end of May.

All five sports appeared at the inaugural edition of the games in Glasgow and Berlin, along with swimming, although its presence in 2022 appears increasingly uncertain.

The Ligue Européenne de Natation (LEN), aquatics’ European body, and the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), its worldwide broadcast rights-holder, aligned the dates of LEN’s 2022 European Championships (August 11 to 21) with those of the multi-sports event as discussions continued. However, Marion Schöne, the managing director of Olympiapark Munich, expressed doubts over LEN’s inclusion when speaking to the German press in February, suggesting instead that para-swimming could be included.

The EBU also holds broadcast rights to Munich 2022 and was a major backer of the inaugural event, with EBU members providing the lion’s share of the global exposure.

Stefan Kürten, the outgoing executive director at Eurovision Sport, the EBU’s sports arm, has welcomed the notion of more sports being added but told SportBusiness today (Thursday) that the issue is “complex” as you “cannot multiply airtime forever”.

He said: “Yes, to come up with new sports is a great idea if to improve and increase the rhythm of jumping from one sport to another. It makes it more lively. But the federations, the organiser and us have to clearly and precisely define the co-ordinated agenda and schedule.

“That is now the process that has started and is ongoing and this is clearly the most difficult part of such a discussion. There are individual interests, city interests, sports and broadcaster interests.”

He added: “The beauty of this event is that the city and the organiser can finance it. It is not exceedingly expensive compared to other big sports events.

“It’s not just a vehicle to make sports known. It must be an attractive programme and this is why we’re very careful to differentiate between the TV sports and the city sports. There might be quite relevant sports for the city but they might not be so relevant for the TV side.”

Speaking after the 2018 edition, Axel Balkausky, sports co-ordinator at German public broadcaster ARD, described beach volleyball as “very suitable” for inclusion in 2022 and also backed a “more youth-orientated sport” such as sport climbing, which will make its Olympic debut in Tokyo next year.

According to the plans laid out before Munich was awarded the event, the hosting costs were projected to be €130m ($141.8m). This would be split between the city, the federal government and the state of Bavaria.