Sports Hall/Courtesy of Podujeva Municipality

Prishtina Named European City of Sports 2024: A Boost for Sports in Kosovo’s Capital

The Kosovar capital has been declared the European City of Sports for 2024, anticipating significant investments in sports infrastructure and activities throughout the coming year.

The announcement of Prishtina as the European City of Sport for 2024 was made on Thursday in Brussels by ACES Europe, a non-profit association that assigns recognition to European Capitals, Cities, Communities, and Towns of Sport.

Alongside Prishtina, ACES Europe has also selected 12 other cities in Europe as Sports Cities for the upcoming year. 

Prishtina’s Mayor, Përparim Rama, shared the news from Brussels, emphasizing that the city is looking forward to a year filled with sporting events.

“I am pleased to share with you the news that Prishtina has been declared the European City of Sport for 2024. This title is evidence of our unwavering commitment to creating a city that embraces health, inclusivity, and transformation. A year filled with sporting events, commitments, and investments in sports infrastructure awaits us,” expressed Rama in a video message.

The Municipality of Prishtina submitted its candidacy to be selected as the European City of Sport for the year 2024 on October 31, 2023. During that period, an evaluation commission from ACES Europe was in Prishtina to closely inspect sports facilities and infrastructure.

Hugo Alonso from ACES Europe, part of the evaluation commission that was staying in Prishtina, had expressed that Kosovo could reap numerous benefits if it wins the title for the year 2024.

 “There will be economic benefits, international recognition, participation in a large sports network, and opportunities to receive funds. Pristina has a strong sports profile, excellent sports infrastructure, and will further develop due to the Mediterranean Games. Prishtina has all the elements to be a sports city,” he had declared.

Ndrec Gjonaj, a sports journalist, in a statement for BIRN, considers the selection of Prishtina as a European city of sports  important, but considers that the conditions in the sports terrains leave much to be desired.

“This shows that sport can be the best “ambassador” of Kosovo. If it has the right terrain, in this part that leaves a lot to be desired. Starting from the stadium, “Fadil Vokrri”, which after the matches of the Kosovo National Team was not in a good condition at all. The state of field in this stadium was also criticized by the opposing football players of Kosovo and the media of different countries,” declared Gjonaj.

“Not even in other sports is there development in infrastructure, but we hope to work for 2030 as the Mediterranean Games will take place,” he added further.

Mërgim Rreci, another sports journalist, considers this selection as good news, emphasizing the need for significant mobilization to address existing issues.

“The improvement of certain sports fields, proper marketing, and collaboration with relevant international institutions have made Prishtina the winner of this award. This epithet that Prishtina has earned should be an additional motivation for all relevant institutions, which should cooperate with each other and create suitable sports conditions,” he expressed.

According to him, not enough has been done for sports in the country since the post-war period.

 “It has been only a short time since the field of the ‘Fadil Vokrri’ stadium, located in the capital, embarrassed our country with the tarnished image it displayed in the matches against Israel and Belarus. These negative aspects need to be seen and urgently improved. It is clear that we are still far from European standards, but at least we need to have common plans and a clear vision of where we want to go,” he further added.

According to him, the fact that Prishtina has won the right to host the Mediterranean Games for the year 2030 and the European Judo Championship was seen as a positive development by those who have made this decision.

The capital of Kosovo, Prishtina, has  been chosen to host the 2030 Mediterranean Games. The decision to award hosting rights to Kosovo was made during the General Assembly of the International Committee of Mediterranean Games, ICMG, which convened in Heraklion, Greece, on September 9. 

Mayor Përparim Rama considers the selection of Prishtina as the European City of Sports for 2024 as preparation for the 2030 Mediterranean Games.

08/12/2023 - 16:51

08 December 2023 - 16:51

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.