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FISU removes Maribor as 2013 Universiade host

The future of the event was called into question last month when the Slovenian government withdrew its financial support. The government elected to stop its financial backing after Maribor’s organising committee failed to carry out the necessary preparations. “It would be irresponsible to invest more public money in a project that has been prepared so badly,” Education, Science and Culture Minister, Ziga Turk, said at the time.

FISU issued a detailed statement on Tuesday explaining the reasons behind its decision, adding that the 2013 Winter Universiade had been “faced with difficulties for several months”. Stating that “serious delays” in the construction of facilities were evident as early as October, FISU added that the presentation of new organisation plans had resulted in new defaults from Maribor 2013 with matters coming to a head with February’s withdrawal of government support.

A FISU statement read: “On February 17, we received a letter from the president of the organising committee, in which he announced the collective resignation of the organising committee of the 2013 Winter Universiade, as well as its liquidation. Therefore, during its meeting held on February 18 the FISU Steering Committee decided to present the partners of the organisation of the 2013 Winter Universiade, i.e. the city of Maribor and the Slovene sports federation (SUSA), with an ultimatum for them to confirm their engagement, as stipulated in the attribution contract, as well as the organisation of the Universiade in Maribor and in Slovenia.

“When the ultimatum expired on March 2, 2012, FISU had received no response from the partners of the 2013 Winter Universiade. It was therefore decided to submit the transfer of the organisation of the 2013 games to another location to the voting members of the FISU Executive Committee, who unanimously approved the proposal on March 5, 2012.”

Slovenia had applied to host the Universiade in 2008, but the global economic crisis has hit the country hard and its new government has announced major austerity measures to ease the country’s financial problems. Regarding the implications of FISU’s move to strip the event from Maribor, the Federation added: “FISU will definitely refer a case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne, in accordance with Article 16 of the attribution contract, in order to seek redress for non-compliance with the contractual obligations.”