Barcelona proved to be an excellent host for the first two Champions League Final Six tournaments – and the Catalan capital also saw the signing of the contract for the 2016 and 2017 editions, to be held in Budapest. Upon the ceremony, LEN President Paolo Barelli and Hungarian Water Polo Federation President Denes Kemeny agreed that the world’s most prestigious club competition would see magnificent season-ending showcases in the following two years as well.
Budapest has already proved its quality as host of major aquatic meets, staging a magnificent European Water Polo Championships most recently. The 2014 event was a real hit – and top-level water polo is about to return to the Hungarian capital next spring, this time bringing Europe’s best clubs to Budapest. The Champions League trophy will be lifted here for the third time, after the 2002 and 2004 Final Four tournaments.
After the LEN Bureau’s approval in March, the hosting agreement for the 2016 and 2017 Final Six was signed by LEN President Paolo Barelli and Hungarian Water Polo Federation President Denes Kemeny in Barcelona.
“The memories of the magnificent European Championships are still with us since the event was a real hit” Paolo Barelli recalled. “We saw water polo could offer perfect entertainment for thousands of fans on site and millions of TV viewers if it’s held in a perfect environment, in great atmosphere, played by the best teams and players. Budapest just offered this last summer and we are confident that we will witness wonderful events in the years to come.”
For 2016, the planned venue is the same as it was for the 2014 Europeans, the legendary Alfred Hajos Pool on the Margaret Island while the 2017 Final Six can become the inaugural event of Budapest’s brand new, state-of-the-art aquatic complex, being constructed for the 2017 World Championships.
“Needless to say, we are extremely happy that Budapest can host top-ranked events two and three years after the European Championships” Denes Kemeny said. “Without the Government’s guarantee we couldn’t have taken this opportunity, we should be grateful for the state’s support. The country, the capital can benefit a lot from the Champions League Final Six tournaments as many other nations will broadcast the event live, placing us into the focus of attention once more.”
“As I see today, there is a good chance to see two Hungarian sides reaching the Final Six again, which would secure a huge turnout of the fans. We’ve followed the organisers’ work in Barcelona, gained useful experiences. I would say, we are ready to stage another great event here, in Budapest.”