The 2024 European Waterpolo Championships will not be held in the Israeli city of Netanya due to the ongoing situation in the region, European governing body LEN announced in a statement on Thursday night.
Israel were due to host the continental finals between January 3 and 16, 2024. However, the instability that was created by the terrorist attacks from the Hamas Group in Israel has made it impossible to hold the tournament in Israel.
In a statement, LEN announced that the 2024 tournament will surely not be held in Israel and that they are currently evaluating all possible options on if and when the tournament will be played.
“As a consequence of the recent terrorist attacks on Israel, and following extensive meetings between European Aquatics and the Israeli Water Polo Association, both institutions have agreed that it will be impossible to host the European Water Polo Championships in Netanya, Israel, as planned in January 2024,” LEN said in a statement.
“Different options are currently being investigated regarding the proper qualification procedure for the next World Aquatics Water Polo Championships in Doha, and further information on the topic will be communicated as soon as possible.
“European Aquatics would like to take this opportunity once again to strongly condemn those responsible for the terrorist atrocities against Israeli citizens and to express our support and sympathy with them at this difficult time.”
The Malta national team, spearheaded by coach Milan Cirovic, were due to be one of the participating sides in the tournament after they managed to secure a fifth successive participation earlier this year.
The Maltese were drawn to face Israel, Germany and Serbia at the tournament that was due to be held in Netanya.
But now the European Aquatics body is set to discuss the future of the tournament in the coming days with several options available.
The tournament in Netanya was set to host both the men’s and women’s tournaments but given the proximity from the start of the tournament, it looks highly unlikely that another country will be in a position to host both tournaments.
Reports suggested that one possibility LEN is considering is to stage the men’s tournament in the German city of Berlin while the women’s championship will be held in the Netherlands.
However, no official information has been divulged yet and the Aquatic Sports Association of Malta and the other European federations to compete in these tournaments are hopeful of receiving more information on whether the tournament will be played in January and which country will host the two tournaments.
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