Munich 2022’s nine-sport line-up complete but no deal for aquatics

Image credit: Munich 2022

A total of nine sports will feature at the 2022 edition of the multi-sport European Championships in Munich with beach volleyball, canoe sprint, sport climbing and table tennis announced as additions to the programme.

The respective European Championships in the four sports will be part of the event, which will take place from August 11 to 21, 2022 and already included athletics, cycling, gymnastics, rowing and triathlon.

News of canoe sprint’s inclusion first broke in the middle of May after a deal was struck with the European Canoe Association (ECA). Agreements have also now been reached with the European Volleyball Confederation (CEV), International Federation of Sport Climbing (IFSC) and the European Table Tennis Union (ETTU).

Swimming, one of the ‘big two’ sports at the inaugural event in Glasgow and Berlin in 2018, will ultimately now not take part after an agreement was unable to be reached with the Ligue Européenne de Natation (LEN), the sport’s European body.

Golf also featured at the seven-sport 2018 event but withdrew from the 2022 edition because of scheduling issues.

The majority of events in 2022 will take place in and around Munich’s Olympic Park. Venues for some sports have still to be decided but some events will take place in the city centre. Both the canoe sprint and rowing will be held at the Olympic Regatta Course, which lies about seven kilometres from the Olympic Park.

Munich’s city council recently cleared the way for an expansion of the 2022 edition of the event to up to nine sports. According to the plans laid out before Munich was awarded the event, the hosting costs were projected to be €130m ($146m). This would be split between the city, the federal government and the state of Bavaria.

Commenting on beach volleyball’s inclusion, CEV president Aleksandar Boričić said this morning: “The event in such an iconic, vibrant and cosmopolite city as Munich will provide the ideal stage for many more people to enjoy our fresh, highly entertaining and dynamic sport, inspiring the next generation of players and rising the popularity of beach volleyball to unprecedented heights.”

The inclusion of beach volleyball and sport climbing, which will debut at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, are sure to be met with particular enthusiasm by broadcasters.

The European Broadcasting Union (EBU), which holds broadcast rights to Munich 2022 and backed the creation of Europe’s multi-sport championships concept, has previously called for another team sport and a “modern urban sport”. German public broadcaster ARD, an EBU member, previously described beach volleyball as “very suitable” and called for the inclusion of a “more youth-orientated sport” such as sport climbing.

ECA president Albert Woods predicted that it would be “a great European Championships for us and also represents 50 years since the Munich Olympic Games 1972”.

Ronald Kramer, the ETTU president, remarked: “From the first time we heard of the initiative and later, during and after the first European Championships in Glasgow and Berlin in 2018, we were captured by the philosophy and objectives of this undertaking…

“…being part of the EC2022 gives table tennis a great platform to organise our European Championships in a multi-sports event, leading to better opportunities for promoting our sport in Europe.”

Marco Maria Scolaris, the IFSC president, said that the inclusion of sport climbing “encourages the IFSC to continue on its project of reorganisation of its Councils, for the development of the sport”. He added: “After the inclusion in the Asian Games in 2018, now also in Europe we are moving to another level.”

No return for diving and swimming

In a bid to help facilitate aquatics’ involvement, LEN and the EBU, its worldwide broadcast rights-holder, aligned the dates of LEN’s 2022 European Championships with those of the multi-sports event as protracted discussions continued.

Rome was then selected as the host for the 2022 European Aquatics Championships but LEN reiterated its intention to integrate the event into the 2022 multi-sport European Championships.

However, frictions have persisted between LEN and European Championships Management, the private company that developed the event concept and manages its delivery. LEN has defended the level of rights inventory it would hand over and has also been a proponent of an association taking over the ownership of the Championships from ECM, a thorny issue that emerged after the success of the 2018 event.

LEN president Paolo Barelli was a key figure among stakeholders of the first European Championships co-hosted by Glasgow and Berlin, as one of two co-chairs of the board (alongside European Athletics president Svein Arne Hansen).

ECM had said that LEN rejected Munich as a host for its competitions given the facilities in the Bavarian city failed to meet its technical requirements. While the aquatics facilities at the Olympic Park are thought to have been an issue, Barelli has claimed that a lack of communication was partly to blame.

Speaking in Glasgow as the city hosted the European Short Course Championships, Barelli told SportBusiness: “It was not possible for a couple of main reasons. First of all, we never received an official invite from the city [Munich] to visit and to discuss.

“We know that it’s a strong city and that the German Swimming Federation is one of the strongest. But for us the decision [was] taken because we didn’t talk anyway so we don’t know if the venues were enough for our competition. So probably, yes, we could have arranged something, but the evolution was different.”

The European Championships organisers are thought to be open to diving and swimming returning in 2026 should the host city’s technical infrastructure allow it.

It is also thought that LEN is looking to work with the EBU to ensure that the timetable for its own European Championships in 2022 will fit within the broadcast body’s schedule requests so as not to clash with sports at Munich 2022.