By Duncan Mackay

JasnaMarch 13 - Slovakia's Government has officially backed a joint bid for the 2022 Winter Olympics with neighbours Poland, Prime Minister Robert Fico announced today.

Slovak officials will meet with Polish partners by the end of the month to discuss more details, Fico claimed.

The two European countries share a border straddled by the High Tatras mountains, a favourite winter holiday destination for locals and tourists from Russia, Ukraine and Hungary.

"There will be a joint meeting of Slovak and Polish Ministers and Prime Ministers in [the Slovak town of] Poprad," Fico said today during a briefing in Bratislava today.

"A joint bid for the 2022 Winter Olympics will be one of the topics."

The race to host the 2022 Olympics was thrown wide open earlier this month when Swiss voters rejected a joint St Moritz and Davos bid in a referendum.

Munich, who lost out to South Korea's Pyeongchang for the right to host the 2018 Winter Olympics, are now considering launching another bid.

Other cities who have investigated bidding include Barcelona, Lviv in the Ukraine and Norwegian capital Oslo.

Poland's Sports Ministry had said in January it would back a proposal to co-host the Winter Olympics, and the Government would soon discuss providing the necessary guarantees for the bid.

Poland successfully co-hosted last year's UEFA European Championships with Ukraine.

PopradPoprad, at the foot of the High Tatra Mountains, will be the venue for a meeting between the Slovakian and Polish Prime Ministers to discuss a joint Winter Olympics bid for 2022

The main obstacle to a successful joint bid from Slovakia and Poland could be the disapproval of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), who have never previously sanctioned such a proposal. 

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."

Under the plan, the former royal capital of Krakow in southern Poland would host the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the Games.

Krakow would also host the majority of the events played on ice, while Zakopane, Poland's winter capital, would handle snowboarding, cross country skiing and the biathlon.

The Slovaks are keen on hosting ice hockey and skiing events, including in Jasna.

The deadline for cities wishing to bid is November 14 later this year.

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