World Aquatics Congress Approves Moving HQ to Budapest

  • 26 Jul 2023 10:05 AM
  • Hungary Matters
World Aquatics Congress Approves Moving HQ to Budapest
The World Aquatics (WA) Congress, formerly known as Fina, has approved the board’s proposal to move its headquarters to Budapest, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said in Fukuoka, Japan. 

Addressing the congress, Szijjártó welcomed the decision, adding that Budapest already provided a home to two international sports associations and ten international organisations, eight of them linked to the United Nations, the foreign ministry said in a statement.

The government will provide WA’s site free of charge for 15 years, as well as tax exemptions and tax cuts, and negotiations on infrastructural upgrades will also be undertaken, he said.

Hungary has always punched above its weight in aquatics, he said, noting that the country was one of the organisation’s founders in 1908 and has won 37 Olympic gold medals in swimming and nine in water polo over the years.

He also said Hungary was proud that after hosting events in 2017 and 2022, the country will again be the venue of the World Aquatics Championships in 2027, reaching a “treble” within ten years.

After signing the agreement on moving the HQ from Lausanne, Switzerland, Szijjártó received an honour from president Husain Al-Musallam for his work in promoting aquatic sports.

Szijjártó: Olympics Should be Inclusive, Avoid Politics

The Olympics should be about sports and sportspeople, not politics, Péter Szijjártó, Hungary’s foreign minister said on Tuesday during a visit to Fukuoka, Japan, adding that the losers of any Olympic boycott were sportspeople who trained hard throughout their lives and had nothing to do with political decisions.

“At a meeting with Ng Ser Miang, vice-president of the International Olympic Committee, we discussed the benefits of sports as a tool for peace and separating sports from geopolitics,” Szijjártó said on Facebook.

He said that a fully inclusive Olympics may greatly advance the peaceful settlement of conflicts, including the war in Ukraine. Szijjártó noted that the boycott of communist countries during the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics had robbed more than 100 Hungarian sportspeople of a chance to prove themselves.

“We Hungarians not only talk about sport’s power to create peace but also act on it, and it was in this vein that we offered an opportunity to the Ukrainian female handball national team to play a world championships qualifier and to the Belarusian football national team to play a European championships qualifier in Hungary,” he said.

“And we continue to offer a venue for sports events that cannot be held in their original location because of the war.”

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