Budapest has been named as the European Capital of Sport in 2019 by the European Capitals and Cities of Sport Federation (ACES Europe), a non-profit federation based in Brussels.
Tünde Szabó, State Secretariat for Sport and Youth Affairs, said that earning the title of European Capital of Sport is a “fantastic honour” for Budapest and the Hungarian sport. She added:
“We can be proud of this title, our athletes, our experts and Budapest, because it is a clear recognition of the fact that [Budapest] can be a worthy host to major sporting events and that Hungary plays a key role in the development of young athletes on the international sports stage.”
Szabó also noted that in 2006 and 2010, Hungary hosted just 6and 34 international events government-supported sporting events, respectively, while last year this number increased to 113. Organizing a higher number of events requires proper sports infrastructure, quality tourism services and a strong economy, she said.
Szabó added that “by now, our country and capital meet all those conditions” and earning the title of European Capital of Sport “fits perfectly with the government’s sports policy goals”.
Budapest’s rivals for the honor were Malaga (Spain), Yerevan (Armenia) and Valletta (Malta). The Hungarian capital ultimately beat out Malaga, which got within five points of difference, and which, following the rules of ACES Europe, has been designated European Capital of Sport 2020.
Gian F. Lupatelli, the President and Founder of ACES Europe, said ”Budapest had been a very strong candidate and had showed enough potential to be the European Capital of Sport”.