Tashkent in Uzbekistan is to host next year's World Judo Championships following the withdrawal of Vienna, it was announced today.
The International Judo Federation (IJF) and Judo Federation of Uzbekistan (JFUz) have signed a contract, meaning the best of judo will be going to Central Asia next year.
The event had originally been awarded to the Austrian capital, but they gave hosting rights back to the IJF following a corruption scandal which bought down the country's Government and left funding in doubt.
Austrian Sports Minister Heinz-Christian Strache had agreed for the Government to underwrite half of the €12 million (£10 million/$13 million) cost of the Championships when the city was given the event during the 2018 World Judo Championships in Baku.
Strache, who also served as Austria's Vice-Chancellor, resigned in May last year after footage from 2017 was released claiming he could offer business contracts in exchange for political support from a woman posing as the niece of a Russian oligarch.
Fearing they could not meet their commitments to the IJF, Austrian Judo Federation President Hans-Paul Kutschera proposed they give the event back and a new host appointed.
The IJF, though, will be delighted that Tashkent has stepped in as a replacement.
It has established itself as a successful stop on the World Judo Tour since 2013.
With JFUz having had previous experience organising high-level judo events, such as the Continental Championships and Continental Opens, the deal appears ideal for both parties.
IJF President Marius Vizer signed the contract with JFUz President Azizjon Kamilov during his official visit to the city - a deal was sealed at the National Olympic Committee of Uzbekistan in Tashkent.
Vizer believes the event will be a success on a number of levels.
"This Championships is a great occasion to promote values of Uzbekistan and the values of judo to the world," he said.
"I hope this great event will be an inspiration for the younger generations all over the world to enjoy judo and all other sports."
Kamilov claimed the region was in a perfect place to host the competition.
"The Judo Federation of Uzbekistan has organised a series of big events in Tashkent," he said.
"The last Grand Prix was held in the brand-new ‘Humo Arena’ and we hope that the next World Judo Championships will be one of the best."
It means the hosts of the next three World Judo Championships have now been secured.
The event is not held in Olympic year so Tashkent will be the next city to stage the Championships and will be followed in 2022 by Budapest and in 2023 by Doha.
For the first time in judo history, the IJF and International Blind Sports Federation are also planning to host a joint 2021 World Judo Championships, with the IBSA competition immediately following the IJF World Championships.