Since the war in Israel broke out on Saturday, the question regarding the next European Championship has been open.
The Championship is scheduled in Netanya between January 3 and 16. This city is located 100 kilometers north of the Gaza Strip. According to the latest news, the situation in Netanya is relatively normal. But nothing is normal when war breaks out in a country. What will happen in the following days, weeks, and months is questionable.
The previous wars in Israel didn’t last for long, but many say that the ongoing one is something that hasn’t happened before.
European Aquatics (former LEN) must react quickly and find an alternative and reserve option for holding the tournament for 32 teams.
To date, European Aquatics hasn’t released an official public statement regarding the 2024 European Championships. Very professional.
However, many unofficial information about alternatives and European Aquatics’ possible moves have been circulated. Some say the Championships could be moved to Budapest (Danube Arena). A piece of information that the men’s tournament will probably be held in Belgrade, and the women’s in Budapest has appeared, too. It has been heard that everything will be decided at a meeting next week.
Some sources mention that the Championships could be canceled or postponed.
But, the 2024 European Championships is the qualification tournament both for the World Championships in Doha (which will take place already in February) and the Olympic Games. Three male and three female teams will qualify for Doha from the 2024 Europeans. Besides, two Olympic berths should be allocated at the next Europeans (one for the men’s and another for the women’s tournament). So, the cancellation or postponement will cause many changes in the qualification system. As a last resort, the standings at the 2022 European Championships in Split can be used to determine the qualified teams.
However, all of these are still rumors and presumptions because an official piece of information is missing.
Several problems have to be overcome in preparing for the Championships in a short period.
A pool isn’t a significant problem because many pools in Europe are bigger than the one in Netanya. But a new host national federation (or federations) must meet many other conditions. One of the problems may be accommodation capacities in a host city during the Christmas and New Year holidays. The tourists have booked many hotels for late December and early January.
A potential new organizer will have many demanding tasks in preparing for the competition with 480 athletes and many coaches, officials, guests, journalists, etc.
We hope this and all other wars will end soon, but there is no time to wait to solve the problems that the conflict in Israel caused to European water polo.