President of The European Capital of Sport Association (ACES) announced that İstanbul was selected the European Capital of Sport in 2012.

ACES President Gian Francesco Lupatelli declared the decision in a press conference at İstanbul’s Atatürk Airport yesterday, accompanied by Turkey’s chief EU Negotiator Egemen Bağış and Mayor of Istanbul Metropolitan Municiaplity Kadir Topbaş.

Stating that officials from the association had carried out a number of inspections in İstanbul, Lupatelli said he was happy to announce that İstanbul was selected as the European Capital of Sport for 2012. He added that the association has invited Bağış and Topbaş to receive the certificate of the title in a meeting in European Parliament in Brussels on November 30th.

Speaking after the ACES president, Bağış said Turkey is one of the most dynamic countries in Europe, adding: “I think it means a lot that İstanbul was announced the European Capital of Sport after having been named European Capital of Culture 2010. European Capital of Sport aims to make everybody, young and old, interested in sports and increase communication between European cities.”

“We had two rivals. The ACES delegation made the decision after carrying out examinations of İstanbul and the other two cities. They announced, unanimously, that İstanbul was the European Capital of Sport,” he continued.

“We tried to make İstanbul internationally competitive in every field and to have a voice in this competition [to become European Capital of Sport]. We have gone through the process of the 2010 European Capital of Culture and now 2012. The decision was made because the ACES delegation and president looked upon our infrastructure, facilities and ongoing works positively. We think the Olympics must follow this. Because these steps will take us to the Olympics,” he continued.

Currently Ireland’s Dublin is the European Capital of Sport, while next year’s capital is the Spanish city of Valencia.

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