As reported earlier this week, Mexico has withdrawn itself as host of the 2017 World Swimming Championships, citing poor economic conditions tied to falling oil prices. Although still considered a stunning move, the country was warned by FINA late last year that an expense committee must be formed, among other conditions, or the host city of Guadalajara would be at risk of losing the competition. Mexico opted instead to pay a $5 million withdrawal fine.
In reaction to the announcement, this week in a Chicago Tribune interview, USA Executive Director Chuck Wielgus is quoted as saying “We would love to host a long course world championships in the United States, but the economic requirements make it impossible for us to seriously consider.”
So, where does leave us two years out from the event? Quite possibly Australia. The country did host the 1991, 1998 and 2007 World Championships and, although has said it is unlikely to bid for 2017, the country has not entirely ruled out the notion. Swimming Australia’s statement to Reuters this week was that, “It is unlikely given the required investment required by many partners to deliver an event of this magnitude successfully and the relatively short time frame.” BUT….the statement continues that Australia “would be open to having discussions with FINA should there be interest in Australia stepping in to assist.”
FINA has made no announcements as of yet on the replacement country, although speculation has been aimed at Qatar, the oil-rich nation, which hosted 2014’s Short Course World Championships in its city of Doha.