Sweden to drop Athletics bid

Sweden is to withdraw its application to host the World Athletics Championships in 2011 or 2013 after the government refused to guarantee funds.

An application to hold the championships in Gothenburg was submitted to the International Athletics Federation on 1st December.

After a cabinet meeting on Thursday, the government confirmed the decision announced on 23rd November not to give a funding guarantee for the event worth 200-250 million kronor. The Swedish Athletics Federation immediately announced that it would therefore withdraw its application.

“Today’s decision is a disappointment for athletics,” said Yngve Andersson, chairman of the Swedish Athletics Federation in a statement.

“With the unique atmosphere of the 2006 European Championships fresh in people’s minds, and taking into account our many attractive international stars, we judged that we were very competitive.

“We had looked forward to bringing a big event to Sweden in the 2010s, and it could be a long time before Sweden comes into the picture again,” he added.

Moscow is now the hot favourite to host the championships in 2013, with the 2011 event expected to be held in Asia.

Prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt has previously said that there were failings in Sweden’s application for the games. Athletics officials had hoped to change the government’s mind, and had held a series of meetings with culture minister Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth, but Thursday’s decision removed all hope of a reversal.