Lisbon has held the title of European Capital of Sport since last December, but will have to share it during the first six months of 2021 with the previous capital, Malaga, which was unable to hold the activities planned for 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Malaga, which took over from Budapest as European Capital of Sport in an event held on 10 December 2019 at the headquarters of the European Parliament, had scheduled an intense agenda of events, sports medicine congresses and meetings between elite and grassroots sportsmen and women, but the declaration of a state of alarm in March due to the pandemic forced the suspension of the events.
Until then, the Andalusian city had only been able to host the King’s Basketball Cup and the Spanish Indoor Football Cup, but was forced to suspend the Caixabank Half Marathon, the basketball matches between the Spanish and French women’s and men’s teams and the Queen’s Football Cup, among other activities.
For this reason, Malaga City Council requested an extension of six months, which ended, in May 2020, with an agreement to share the European Capital of Sport with Lisbon until June 2021, which officially began on 11 December.
The European Capital of Sport has been awarded each year since 2001 to a European city that is the State Capital or has at least 500,000 inhabitants. As far as Spain is concerned, to date the cities of Madrid (2001), Alicante (2004) and Valencia (2011), apart from Malaga, have exercised this capital status, awarded by the private association ACES (European Capitals of Sport Association). This is the first time that the capital is shared by two cities. The chosen city must commit to holding at least 36 sporting events of a national or international level during its capital year.