By Nick Butler

Figures from both Poland and Slovakia at the unveiling of the bidNovember 7 - Poland and Slovakia officially announced the launch of their joint bid to host the 2022 Winter Olympic and Paralympics Games this afternoon, as was revealed last week on insidethegames.

The bid was confirmed in a letter sent today by the head of the Polish Olympic Committee, Andrzej Kraśnicki, to the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

Under the plan, Krakow, Poland's second largest city, would host the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the Games as well as the majority of events played on ice, including figure skating, speed-skating and curling.

Snowboarding, cross country skiing and biathlon would also be held in Poland in the nearby mountain resort of Zakopane, but ice hockey and alpine skiing would take place across the border in the neighbouring resort of Jasna in Slovakia 100 miles away. 

The main obstacle to the bid from Slovakia and Poland could be the disapproval of the IOC who have never previously sanctioned a joint bid.

But the Olympic Charter does allow it, under Rule 35.2 which says: "For the Olympic Winter Games, when for geographical or topographical reasons it is impossible to organise certain events or disciplines of a sport in the country of the host city, the IOC may, on an exceptional basis, authorise the holding of them in a bordering country."

The resort of Zakopane will host snowboarding, biathlon and cross-country skiingThe resort of Zakopane would host snowboarding, biathlon and cross-country skiing

Neither country has hosted the Olympics before, with Zakopane also having bid unsuccessfully for the 2006 Winter Games, while another Slovakian resort of Poprad-Tatry failed in attempts for the 2002 and 2006 editions.

Kraśnicki's letter, addressed to IOC President Thomas Bach, expressed full support for the joint initiative.

The letter pointed out the role of the royal city in Polish history, as well as in culture, science and sports, while it stressed that Krakow is a city of young and dynamic people who like sport and are familiar with it.

It also drew attention to the large number of sports facilities that the city currently has and the strong nature of the partnership with Slovakia.

These credentials were repeated by the Mayor of Krakow Jacek Majchrowski, who said that he was "glad that the efforts of Krakow have entered a new phase and are tangible."

"If the city is entrusted to host the Olympics I am convinced that it will leave an extremely rich and unique heritage in the field of sport and culture, while fully respecting the principles of environmental protection," the Mayor added.

The historic Polish city of Krakow would host the Opening and Closing ceremonies as well as many other eventsThe historic Polish city of Krakow would host the Opening and Closing ceremonies as well as many other events

The joint bid is the fifth declared candidacy for the 2022 Games.

The Norwegian capital of Oslo announced its bid earlier today, as revealed exclusively on insidethegames, while the Ukrainian city of Lviv, Beijing and Zhangjiakou in China and Almaty in Kazakhstan are the others to have declared. 

A referendum will also be held on Sunday (November 10) in Germany ahead of a proposed bid from Munich.

The IOC are due to select the 2022 host city at its Session in Kuala Lumpur on July 31, 2015.

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