MADRID, June 24 (EUROPA PRESS) –
The President of the Higher Sports Council (CSD), José Manuel Franco, has assured that he has “deep respect” and has “absolutely nothing” against the President of Aragon, Javier Lambán, who has accused him of his role in the negotiations for the 2030 Winter Olympics, although he regretted questioning “the attitude of an athlete and a model person” like Pau Gasol.
“When in doubt, I will always be with the athletes, out of conviction and because I am President of the Higher Sports Council. I have absolutely nothing against Lambán, and I have always treated the institutions and with the institutions very respectfully.” People who are responsible for the institutions. I respect Javier Lambán as President of the Municipality of Aragon, I have a lot of respect for him. Another thing is that we don’t agree on some issues,” he said after the awarding ceremony of the gold medal of the Royal Order of Merit for Sport to athlete Marc Tur.
In an interview on Cadena Ser’s El Larguero, Lambán accused Franco of overstepping his bounds and not fulfilling his role as moderator in the conflict between Catalonia and Aragon over the Games. “I know Mr. José Manuel Franco and he has never been a paragon of political skill, that’s why he is where he is,” he said. He also explained that former basketball player Pau Gasol was “an ally of the pro-independence movement” after the Catalan assured that the candidacy had tried “to politicize from the Aragonese side”.
The head of the CSD questioned these statements. “It bothered me that the attitude of an athlete and a role model was being questioned; he does great social work, for example with his NGO, ensures that children are not in need, fights against childhood obesity … Spanish sport is proud,” he pointed out Lambán’s words to Gasol.
With a view to the 2030 Winter Olympics, he assured that “the ideal” would have been a “joint candidacy”. “Since it’s not possible for reasons I honestly don’t know, a split candidacy wouldn’t make much sense in the opinion of the Spanish Olympic Committee. Their decision is respectable, they certainly have good reasons not to do it,” he said.
“I still think that it would be ideal if there was a joint candidacy that had a good chance of success. It wasn’t possible and we will think about the future, especially at the 2030 World Cup, which will be a great event for Spain and Portugal “, he said.
However, he does not believe that the lack of agreement was politically motivated. “Without sports policy, we would not invest the 300 million euros that we have invested this year, or the 1,000 million in the last three years, we would not have academies that many European countries envy us for… Politics and sport do not have to fight become, they must feed each other. I want to believe that the decision has nothing to do with politics, but with the distribution of evidence,” he said.
In a different order, he highlighted the role played by Marc Tur, fourth at Tokyo 2020, in the visibility of LGTBI+ people in sport. “A top athlete’s courage is rewarded, but more importantly, example is rewarded, meaning that an athlete makes a gesture of courage by freely communicating their gay status. We recognize the value a great athlete placed on this step. He is an example and hopefully we will have many examples like this in the future because we celebrate sport and set an example for society,” he explained.
Finally, Franco pointed out that the rainbow flag displayed at the Higher Sports Council headquarters reaffirmed his organization’s support of the group. “The CSD is committed to diversity, inclusion and feminism. This is another example of that commitment,” he concluded.