In a very festive and friendly atmosphere was held ACES’ annual Gala in the European Parliament where Malaga and Guadalajara officially received their recognitions as European Capital of Sport 2020 and World Capital of Sport 2020 respectively.
Notably, more than 200 participants attended the event, among them MEPs, journalists and representatives of local authorities across Europe, but also from Mexico and Morocco. The cities received their distinctions as a result of their dedication, efforts and investments to sports and physical activity.
In his opening speech, President of ACES Europe Gian Francesco Lupattelli presented the awarded Capitals of Sport from 2020 until 2024, as well as he mentioned the increase of Malaga’s participation to sports from 30% to 50%, expressing his certainty that the number would increase even more in the new year. “I would like to encourage cities to continue their great work for sport, physical activity and well-being”, he added.
Mariya Gabriel, the new EU Commissioner for Culture, Innovation and Youth said: “Congratulations to ACES Europe. You have always been in the Commission’s side for the last 20 years and now you are going beyond the European borders, with the World Capital of Sport. This is the demonstration that ACES has made a success story”.
“It is a great opportunity for cities to network and exchange best practices for the promotion of sport and physical activity”, said Andrey Kovatchev, MEP from Bulgaria.
“Young people and vulnerable groups can be integrated to the society through sports. ACES has been doing great work towards this direction”, said Brando Bennifei, Italian MEP.
“What is important here is that communities, cities and European institutions are here all together. Sport is not only business, it has also a social dimension”, mentioned Marco Campomenosi, Italian MEP.
“I would like to express UNESCO’S gratitude to ACES Europe for its commitment to sport. Sport has a direct impact on the promotion of social inclusion and human values”, said Angela Melo, UNESCO’a Director of Ethics, Youth and Sport.
The awards started with the handover of the flag from Budapest to Malaga.
The Sports Councilor of Malaga during the handover of the flag from Budapest reaffirmed the city’s dedication for sports, mentioning that Malaga has organised an agenda full of indoor and outdoor activities and events for 2020.
Guadalajara’s representative emphasised on the city’s efforts for more social inclusion and sports, as well as the opportunities ACES distinction gives the Mexican city.
The event closed successfully after the awards presentation to the European Cities, Communities and Towns of Sport 2020, with a spectacle- surprise (BMX show) of Drenthe, best European Community of Sport 2019.
Following the congratulatory speeches, ACES wished a year full of sports and renewed its appointment for next year.