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Munich gets nod for 2022 European Championships, aquatics not on the list

Pic credit: Munich Olympic Park

The second edition of the multi-sport European Championships tournament will be held in Munich in 2022 after the six participating European federations gave their approval to the hosting plans.

Munich’s Olympic Park will be the centrepiece for the 2022 event as the Bavarian city hosts the European Championships half a century on from the 1972 Olympic Games.

The list of six confirmed sports so far was also announced today with aquatics, one of the heavyweight sports during the inaugural Championships, notable in its absence. Athletics, cycling, golf, gymnastics, rowing and triathlon will all return after being part of the first iteration, which was co-hosted by Glasgow and Berlin.

Munich had been regarded as the favourite to stage the 2022 European Championships after its city council approved the bid in March. The €130m ($143.2m) in hosting costs are expected to be split between the city, the federal government and the state of Bavaria. Sweden was one of the countries to initially express interest in the 2022 event with a concept to split the events between Gothenburg and Malmo.

Widespread free-to-air exposure of the European Championships is guaranteed once again through the renewed (and expected) commitment of Eurovision Sport, the sports arm of the European Broadcasting Union. The 2018 European Championships were showcased by a total of 44 broadcasters worldwide with the bulk of the exposure from EBU members in Europe.

Asked about possible additions to the list of six sports and whether aquatics could still be involved, European Championships Management told SportBusiness today (Tuesday): “When considering the addition of other sports, it is very important for all the stakeholders that event sustainability, cost efficiency, and the use of existing venues are at the forefront of the organisational planning. We also need to ensure a compelling programme on-site and on television.

“Now six of the seven founding sports are confirmed, the stakeholders could consider additional sports. Munich aims to have seven sports. A number of sports have been in contact to see if they could be part of the 2022 European Championships. The stakeholders will evaluate and collectively agree to add a sport if it will benefit the overall event in 2022.

“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.

“The timelines for any additional sports on top of the six already confirmed are fixed in the minds of the stakeholders and you can imagine the programme should be finalised soon.’’

Dates for the 2022 event have also been revealed with the championships to take place from August 11 to 21, a slightly later slot than the August 2-12 timing in 2018.

Svein Arne Hansen, chair of the 2022 European Championships board and president of European Athletics, said: “I speak for all the participating sports in saying how delighted we are to be going to the wonderful city of Munich in 2022, and for athletics we are especially happy to be heading back to Germany, after the success of Berlin 2018, where we know there are so many passionate sports fans.

“It is testament to the fantastic legacy of the Munich Olympic Park that we will bring our individual European Championships together again there, on the 50th anniversary of the Olympic Games, and use many of its iconic venues.”

Stefan Kürten, executive director at Eurovision Sport, added: “We are very pleased to be working again with all the participating Federations and ECM, as the media partner for the European Championships in 2022. We have been supporters of this innovative event from the outset, working together with our Members to bring all the action to millions of fans across Europe.

“The wide free-to-air exposure contributed greatly to securing the European Championships as a highlight of the summer sporting calendar, even in its first edition, and we look forward to taking this even further in 2022. We see public service media as the natural partner of this young, creative event which gives Olympic sports another platform on which to shine and delight audiences.”

Paolo Barelli, president of LEN, was a prominent figure in the lead up to the inaugural championships in his role as co-chair of the European Championships board (alongside European Athletics’ Hansen).

Of the six sports that return for the European Championships in 2022, it is golf that was considered by some as most likely to lose its place given the lack of buy-in from some broadcasters. Following the 2018 event, German public broadcaster ZDF described the inclusion of golf as a “concession to Glasgow” and that it “does not need it a second time.”

There was also concerns raised about the lack of star golfers taking part in 2018 compared to the strong line-ups on show for other sports.

Speaking to DPA about potential additions to the line-up, Kürten said last year: “In my opinion another team sport and a modern urban sport are conceivable.” These views were echoed by Axel Balkausky, ARD’s sport co-ordinator, who described beach volleyball as “very suitable” or a “more youth-orientated sport” such as sport climbing.