The circumstances linked to the outbreak of the coronavirus throughout the continent, the travel restrictions and the other measures currently implemented by most European governments forced the LEN Bureau to decide on the postponement of the 2020 European Aquatics Championships, the elective LEN Congress and the European Masters Championships. Each event was due to be held in Budapest in May. The proposed new dates are in August though this might be confirmed only in late May or in early June.
LEN President Paolo Barelli agreed with the proposal of the Organising Committee of the European Aquatics Championships in Budapest to move the event to a later date from 11-24 May, in wake of the current circumstances. The LEN Bureau took the decision to postpone the Championships, as well as the elective LEN Congress and the European Masters Championships.
“After consulting with our stakeholders, we’ve set a tentative date for the Championships, 17-30 August” President Barelli said. “However, at this stage it’s difficult to plan with a definite time frame so we agreed with the Hungarian organisers to reassess the situation in late May or early June to see if we can confirm these dates as official ones.”
Mr Barelli added that in case things would not get back to normal in the coming months, LEN should consider staging the Championships in 2021. “Our common commitment and priority is to protect the health of the athletes and give them the best possible conditions to compete in a safe environment and, at the same time, celebrate a great Aquatic event, something Hungary has always delivered with excellence” he said.
Dr Tunde Szabo, Minister of Sports in Hungary – former Olympic silver medallist swimmer – emphasised that the event could go ahead once everything is settled on the Old Continent. “The European Championships have always been an outstanding meet, a true highlight of any season” she said. “We are committed to stage another great edition in Budapest, which is the birthplace of the European Championships. Ever since the first edition in 1926, each LEN event in Hungary was a tremendous success and we don’t expect any less this time – so we are patient and waiting for the appropriate time to host the Championships.”
The minister added that the Europeans should be an event where spectators were present. “We all wish to see packed stands in the Duna Arena. The magical atmosphere created by the fans has become a trademark of the aquatic events in Budapest – the participating athletes deserve to enjoy that once again. And of course they also deserve the chance to have quality preparations before the big events since nowadays it’s almost impossible to train properly. Indeed, few have been hit as hard as the competitors in aquatics where pool-preparations would be a must” Ms Szabo said.
The elective LEN Congress and the European Masters Championships are planned to be held alongside the main Championships, the dates for those events are also to be confirmed later