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28 febrero 2024

Zaragoza finalist for European Capital of Sport 2026

Zaragoza has taken a big step on its way to becoming the European Capital of Sport in 2026, as it has passed the initial selection phase and has been selected to compete in the final.

The city has been evaluated by a rigorous jury from the University of Kosice, who have thoroughly examined the documentation submitted by the candidates and have decided that Zaragoza will continue in the race.

The direct rival in the final will be Naples, after the city of Tbilisi in Georgia failed the evaluation.

One of the next crucial milestones for Zaragoza’s bid will be the visit of a delegation during the week of October 19-22. This delegation will have the opportunity to see first-hand the European Capital of Sport project that aims to make Zaragoza an international reference in terms of sport. The main objective of this candidacy is twofold: to promote healthy lifestyle habits among the entire population, in sustainable and emission-free environments, and to strengthen the attraction of national and international events that boost the economy, society and the media projection of the city.

The candidacy has the strong support of the Mayor of Zaragoza, Natalia Chueca, who highlighted the unique opportunity it represents for the city. If Zaragoza wins the title of European Capital of Sport, it would become the epicenter of major sporting events in various disciplines. The city aspires to host European and national competitions in athletics, water sports and many other specialties, which would reinforce its position on the international sports scene.

To ensure the success of this bid, Zaragoza City Council has committed historic investments from both the public and private sectors, totaling more than 200 million euros. These investments will be used to improve and create new sports facilities in the city, such as the new La Romareda Municipal Stadium, which will be an architectural icon with a capacity for 42,500 spectators and will be ready for the 2030 World Cup.

In addition, the construction of the Smart City of Sport will be carried out, a strategic project that will include a mini-football stadium, an Aquatic Sports Center with an indoor Olympic swimming pool, a residence for athletes and various multi-sports venues for international competitions.

Zaragoza’s commitment to sport is not only limited to infrastructure, but also to promoting a culture of sport and healthy living throughout the city. The promotion of green infrastructure, areas for walking, cycling and sports is among the priorities of the municipal government.

Zaragoza has also demonstrated its ability to attract major sporting events in the past, including the Queen’s Cup in basketball, La Vuelta cycling, the Spanish national soccer team match, among others. This successful track record in organizing national and international sporting events is a strong endorsement of the city’s candidacy.

In short, Zaragoza has made significant progress on its way to becoming European Capital of Sport 2026. With major investments in sports infrastructure and a strong commitment to sustainability, the city aspires to be an example for other European cities. The “Zaragoza inspires sport” candidacy seeks not only to promote physical exercise and health, but also to consolidate the city as a sports destination of reference in Europe. The final decision of the jury will be known soon, and if the city wins the title, Zaragoza will be closer to its goal of becoming an international sporting and sustainable reference.

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