LEN keeps European Championships integration alive with Rome to host 2022 Europeans

Open Water Swimming at the 2018 European Championships

The Ligue Européenne de Natation [LEN], the governing body for aquatics in Europe, has confirmed that Rome has been selected to host the 2022 European Aquatics Championships and reiterated its intention to integrate the event into the 2022 multisport European Championships.

According to the LEN statement issued today (Monday), Rome mayor Virginia Raggi received a full LEN delegation for a site visit in late November and the bid has been strongly supported by the Italian Government, the City of Rome and the Lazio Region. Eurovision Sport, the sports arm of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) and LEN’s broadcast rights-holder, is also understood to have been fully behind the city’s campaign.

It remains to be seen whether the choice of Rome will be enough to integrate the swimming event into the 2022 European Championships, which were recently awarded to Munich.

The last edition of the European Aquatics Championships was one of seven continental competitions incorporated into the inaugural multi-sport event held in Glasgow and Berlin in 2018. However, there had been doubts about swimming’s inclusion in its second iteration after LEN failed to approve the choice of Munich as 2022 host, saying that the swimming facilities in the city did not meet its technical requirements.

The LEN statement said discussions for the integration of the European Aquatics Championships into the larger competition are currently ongoing, and strongly supported by the EBU, which is the broadcast partner of both championships.

The chances of a joint event were thought to have increased when the dates for the European Aquatics Championships were exactly aligned with the those for the European Championships from August 11 to 21. The first European Championships in Berlin and Glasgow also set a precedent for the event being hosted across two cities.

European Championships Management left the door open for the inclusion of aquatics when announcing Munich as the 2022 host.

ECM told SportBusiness last month: “LEN [aquatics’ European body] is looking to another host city in Europe to organise their European Aquatics Championships as for them the facilities in Munich did not fulfil their technical requirements after they discussed having the event in Munich. Let’s see what host city and date is chosen by LEN for 2022. If these are compatible, and the European Championships 2022 participation requirements are fulfilled, LEN could still be considered by the EC2022 board.”

This will be the second time after 1983 that Rome will have hosted the European Aquatics Championships. The city will welcome 1,500 athletes from 52 nations to compete in swimming, diving, artistic swimming, open water swimming and high diving events.

According to early plans, the city’s Foro Italico complex will host the swimming and the diving competitions and a temporary pool will be set up in the adjacent tennis centre to accommodate the artistic swimming events. Open water swimming events will take place in the Ostia coastal district of the city where the Italian Swimming Federation has its training centre.

The statement said the city is also considering plans to stage the first-ever European Championships in high diving at an iconic site in Rome. This could include the Vatican, Castel Sant’Angelo, or the Colisseum.

The news of Rome’s selection comes as little surprise given LEN bureau member Alexey Vlasenko told Russian news agency Tass that the championships had been awarded to the city following a bureau meeting in mid-November.