Photo courtesy of PM Albin Kurti's Facebook page.

Cautious Optimism Surrounds Kosovo’s Bid to Host the 2030 Mediterranean Games

Kosovo has been selected to host the 2030 Mediterranean Games, marking the largest sports event ever organized in the country. While the prospect is seen as a positive step, experts warn of the substantial challenges and costs associated with organizing the event.

While the news of Kosovo hosting the 2030 Mediterranean Games is certainly positive, it is anticipated to bring numerous challenges, both in terms of organization and investment.

“The Prishtina 2030 Mediterranean Games will strengthen our standing as equals among nations, elevating our pride and dignity on the global stage,” stated Prishtina’s Mayor, Përparim Rama, during a press conference on Monday.

“Their [the Mediterranean Games] power to invigorate and further consolidate state-building is simply unparalleled, and we will welcome this historic opportunity, well-prepared and with unwavering determination,” stated the Mayor.

However, Shenoll Muharremi, an economic development pundit, views this development with causion. Muharremi asserts that this ambitious undertaking will come with substantial costs and challenges, as the entire investment for organizing the multi-sport event will be financed by the state itself.

Muharremi expressed his concerns on Facebook, noting, “The existing infrastructure is inadequate for hosting events involving 26 countries with around 3500 athletes. Kosovo must build sports halls, accommodations, swimming pools, sports arenas, and more to host approximately 250 major sports events during the competitions.”

“Perhaps this is why no other parties expressed interest in organizing the event in 2030, especially during a time when our economies are in deep crisis,” Muharremi added.

The preliminary estimated cost for this event is expected to range from 250 to 300 million euros.

“In the end, Kosovars celebrated the prospect of hosting such an event, primarily due to their participation in the global community of nations. However, the cost to be borne by citizens is considerable. Kosovo is expected to allocate approximately 10 percent of its public budget for organizing the competitions. Alternatively, a 300 million euro investment in the sector of processing, reconstruction, and refrigeration could potentially reduce the trade deficit from -50 percent GDP per year to about -30 percent,” Muharremi concluded.

There has been substantial institutional enthusiasm for this sporting achievement since the announcement that Kosovo would host these games.

Kosovo currently has a limited budget unless significant increases are made by 2030. As of this year, Kosovo’s budget stands at 3.21 billion euros. However, the allocation for sports remains insufficient. The Ministry of Culture, Youth, and Sports for this year has a budget over 57 million euros, with 32 million euros earmarked for capital expenditures, and less than 10 million euros allocated for the sports and sports achievements category.

Accommodation is expected to be one of the most challenging aspects, as noted by Sheholli.

“The government may seek assistance from the private sector to construct these accommodations, but it remains uncertain whether there is a viable plan for building private sector accommodation for nearly 4000 people that won’t be utilized afterward,” Muharremi analyzed.

Kosovo was the sole candidate for the organization of the Mediterranean Games, with no competitors. The decision on Kosovo’s fate was made in Heraklion, Greece, with 55 votes in favor, 8 against, and three invalid votes.

“Although Kosovo was the sole candidate, the process was by no means straightforward, given the strong opposition from Serbia. Serbia’s delegate sought to postpone the selection of the host country until after the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, a proposal that, according to the leaders of the International Committee of Mediterranean Games, would violate the ICMG charter. Such a proposal to change the agenda should have been made months ago,” wrote the Kosovo Olympic Committee on Facebook.

Kosovo lacks a coastline, but it was permitted to bid thanks to some changes in the ICGM statute, which now allows landlocked countries to host the Mediterranean Games. Albania has pledged to assist Kosovo in organizing the games by offering its own coastline for swimming events.

The 21st edition of the games is scheduled to take place from July 24 to August 4, 2030.

In April of this year, Kosovo PM Albin Kurti officially announced Kosovo’s candidacy for hosting the Mediterranean Games.

Meanwhile, Ismet Krasniqi, the President of the Olympic Committee of Kosovo, expressed that Kosovo is prepared to host “Prishtina 2030.”

This year, the games are being held in Heraklion, Crete 2023, until September 16, 2023. In the parade of the Kosovo team, which comprises 26 athletes, coaches, and officials, the flag bearers were Yllka Jashari [sand volleyball] and Bardh Rexha [basketball 3X3].

The Mediterranean Games are a multi-sport event held every four years with the support of the International Olympic Committee. The first official Mediterranean Games took place in Egypt in 1951 and were inaugurated in October 1951 in Alexandria, Egypt, in honor of Muhammed Taher Pasha. Presently, 26 nations participate in the games: 5 from Africa, 2 from Asia, and 19 from Europe.

and 11/09/2023 - 13:52

11 September 2023 - 13:52

Prishtina Insight is a digital and print magazine published by BIRN Kosovo, an independent, non-governmental organisation. To find out more about the organization please visit the official website. Copyright © 2016 BIRN Kosovo.