PtG Article 26.05.2014

Krakow out of 2022 Winter Games race

More than two thirds of the Polish voters in Krakow have voted against hosting the 2022 Olympic Winter Games.

The Polish bid to host the 2022 Winter Games is over, writes Inside the Games and Polish media, after voters in a local referendum yesterday clearly expressed their unwillingness to support the hosting of the Olympic Winter Games in Krakow. 69.72 per cent of the voters in Krakow voted ’no’, sending a clear signal to the government.

According to Inside the Games, Kraków Mayor Jacek Majchrowsk blames the negative result on the city’s bid committee that recently saw its former president replaced after allegations that she had offered payments to journalists to cover the bid positively.

"[The] time we had to rebuild was too short," Majchrowsk wrote in a post on his Facebook page. "When we started the effort to welcome the Olympics, we got a solid support, expressed in particular in the polls. [But in] the face of declining popular support, we had to go to the inhabitants of Kraków. […] I regret the decision. This project was extremely important for the development of the entire region," he said.

With Krakow out of the race, the IOC will have to choose between Oslo, Lviv, Beijing and Almarty when they pick out the official bid cities in June this year. A Norwegian referendum on the Oslo bid in September last year was only won with 55.1 per cent of the votes, and the Norwegian government has not yet announced their backing of the bid. Lviv in Ukraine is still under pressure from the political turmoil in the country.

According to Inside the Games, this situation may leave only two candidates, Beijing and Almarty, after the IOC decides which cities should continue in the bidding process as official candidate cities. The final decision of the 2022 host is due at the IOC session in July 2015.