The President of the Government of Aragon, Javier Lambán, stated this Friday that the President of the Spanish Olympic Committee (COE), Alejandro Blanco, “is no longer just a problem for me or for Aragon, but for this country”. This was expressed in a breakfast-colloquium organized by ‘El Periódico de Aragón’ when assessing information from El Confidencial which reveals that the leader of this sports entity secretly negotiated the joint candidacy of Catalonia and Aragon for the 2030 Winter Olympics with the former president of the Generalitat Artur Mas and a high-ranking official from the Catalan Executive. “It seems very serious to me and leaves the COE in a very compromised situation,” has added.

After this information, Lambán has considered that he fell “short” when a few days ago he described Blanco as an ally of the Catalan independence movement and has asked “whom it may concern” to “take measures” as he is not the best representative of “an institution that represents the best values ​​of society is subjected to this disrepute”. Nevertheless, has avoided openly calling for his dismissal or resignation.

The Aragonese president has lamented the “very unfavorable media noise” that has been generated at the state level against Aragon’s position, although he has hoped that this vision will be “tempered” with the explanations that are being given from the DGA. “Each time we have given them they have been successful,” he added.

Lamban has defended that the Executive he presides over has been “the one who has really had an interest in negotiating” a joint candidacy of the community together with neighboring Catalonia. And she has considered that this information published today ratifies what Aragón has been denouncing for a long time, that “the cards were marked before sitting down at the table”

The president was thus referring to what is also happening with his technicians sent to the technical table at which the COE, the Higher Sports Council and Catalonia also sat, from which audios have also been leaked claiming to say that the Aragonese were in agreement with the proposal that the DGA rejected. In this sense, the situation goes further and may end up in court. “There has been a manipulation of some videos”, he explained, and what the COE has done may be “constituting a crime”. The Aragonese technicians “have been treated very unfairly and manipulated,” he remarked.

He has also referred to the controversy aroused with former basketball player Pau Gasol, who accused Lambán and Aragón of the failure of the candidacy and they responded on Twitter with a message that has raised significant dust. He has said that he is aware that he is “a good guy”, as well as a sports star, but that “I don’t think that Gasol or anyone else has the papal gift of infallibility and that no one can tell him if he is right or not.” “He said that Catalonia has done an impeccable job and today we found out that he, indeed, did an impeccable job”, he ironically referred again to the information published by El Confidencial.

Regarding the criticism of José Manuel Franco, Secretary of State for Sports, who described what Lambán had said about the president of the COE as “barbarous”, he wanted to make a difference between these statements and what other members of his party or the Government of Pedro Sánchez: “I have not received any speech from the Government that is consistent with what (Franco) said, and having seen what I have seen, may Santa Lucía preserve his sight”, he ironically referred to Alejandro’s conversations Blanco with Artur Mas and the independence movement to agree on the Olympic candidacy already in 2019.

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Nor has he been critical of the leader of the Socialists and Prime Minister, Pedro Sánchez, whom, he has said, “I have nothing to reproach him for.” He has assured that they have talked but about other issues “that concern him more” at the moment.

He has also wanted to refute that image of anti-Catalanism that some attribute to the Aragonese president. Lambán has explained that, apart from the political differences, his relationship with his counterpart in the Generalitat is “cordial” and his relationship with Catalonia has nothing to do with her: “I declare myself Catalan, I love Barcelona, ​​I lived there” he stated. “If something is being done by the independence supporters is to annoy and ruin the great Barcelona and Catalonia that many of us love and adore”, he added. And he has also refuted those who tell him that criticizing the independence movement makes him a more right-wing politician. “What it means to be on the right is to be an independentist, being on the left is being anti-independence”. “I am not anti-Catalan, I am going to Catalonia. In fact, on Monday I will go to Barcelona,” he settled.



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