The World Athletics Championship was initially slated to be held from August 18, 2023, to August 27, 2023, in Budapest, Hungary. However, recent reports stated that Budapest would have to withdraw from its host city due to internal political conflicts.
In August 2021, Gergely Karacsony the Mayor of Budapest was compelled to decline the organization of the event. This action is in response to government schemes to utilize a site initially assured for a Student City giving inexpensive quarters for nearly eight thousand provincial students to instead establish the first campus for China’s distinguished Fudan University in the capital.
The Mayor, a central member of the Hungarian Green Party, contended this infringes the 2019 agreed proposal with the government, led by Viktor Orban since 2010, also the leader of the Fidesz-Hungarian Civic Alliance, a part of the consent for the World Athletics Championship where were awarded in 2018.
Gergely Karacsony declared, “It’s time to take action,” at the intended site of the Student City in the capital. “It is time that this infamy is not left without a response,” he added.
In response to that, Viktor Orban in a statement said: “Gergely Karácsony’s statement is groundless, the mayor is clearly trying to divert the public’s attention from the traffic jams and chaos that are disrupting the capital.”
Will the World Athletics Championships 2023 in Budapest, Hungary have to change its host city?
Budapest State Minister, Balazs Furjes has conserved that the World Athletics Championship will indeed resume forward but has declared that a direct vote will be held concerning the issue of the Fudan University proposal.
A World Athletics representative told insidethegames regarding the ongoing issue: “We understand there are elections taking place in Hungary next year and, as is usual, political parties are setting their agendas. We hope that the World Athletics Championships in Budapest 2023 will not become a political football. The Championships received high levels of support from the public during the bidding process and we have had good conversations with the Mayor of Budapest around aligning these Championships and our 10-year sustainability strategy with his environmental agenda and legacy ambitions.
“We have shared goals in both these areas,” he added. “Preparations are going well and we are looking forward to staging our World Championships in 2023 in one of the world’s great cities and together creating an event that delivers a strong legacy and becomes a template for sustainable sports events in the future.”
Viktor Orban’s party also published a brief statement:
“War is declared. Such a dispute would probably be settled by a compromise if it happened anywhere else, and the World Athletics Championships would not be threatened. But the precedent of Budapest’s bid for the 2024 Games, which was withdrawn from the race even though it had won over part of the Olympic movement and brought some fresh air to the campaign, suggests the worst is yet to come.”
Various athletes and Hungarian Athletics Federation (MASZ)also expressed their displeasure including Anita Marton shot putter and bronze medalist at the 2016 Rio Game.
Speaking to sports daily Nemzeti Sport the athlete said: “Sport and politics should not be mixed. Hosting the world championships is a great opportunity for Hungary, for Hungarian athletics, for people who love the sport. I would be really saddened if this did not happen.”
In a statement, the MASZ said: “The Hungarian Athletics Federation is proud to have won the right to host the 2023 World Athletics Championships in December 2018, which will be the biggest sporting event in Hungary’s history.”
“We are confident that as a signatory to the contract, the MASZ can continue to work toward making the World Championships the most prestigious event in the history of the tournament and an unforgettable event for Hungarian athletics, the fans, and the country.”