At the 11th hour, Antwerp, Belgium has pulled out of hosting this year’s European Aquatics Championships that are slated to run from May 14th-27th.
Various media sources have cited shortfalls between $300,000 and $500,000 for a plan that was expected to put a pool inside of the 12,000 seat sports palace. The budget plan spiraled after one of the meet’s partners pulled out of the deal.
Despite some disagreement as to where the meet would be moving (the Antwerp organizer said it was to be shifted to London), the European Swimming League (LEN) finally announced that it would be moved to Debrecen, Hungary, and kept on the same dates.
Debrecen is Hungary’s 2nd-largest city, and it seems as though the LEN felt comfortable going back to Hungary after the success of the 2010 Budapest Championships. The city previously hosted the 2007 European Short Course Championships in 2007; that meet was hailed as a success after 7 World Records were broken.
This year’s long course version is presumed to be held in the same Debreceni Sportuszoda that has both a 50-meter competition pool, and a separate 6-lane 25-meter warmdown pool.
This cause of cities pulling out of bids for swimming championships is becoming epidemic. This will actually be the third host that LEN is looking for to host this year’s event – it was originally scheduled for Vienna, Austria, but they too pulled out shortly after award due to financial reasons.
This is on the back of Dubai jumping off of the 2013 long course World Championships, and more recently Italy pulling out of its hosting bid for the 2014 short course World Championships. It’s becoming clearer-and-clearer that hosting these sorts of meets is financially ineffective, unless a city hopes to profit in the long-term from the swimming infrastructure (which most swim coaches know is difficult to do without starting $500,000 in the hole).