The host city contract for the Kraków-Małopolska 2023 European Games was finally agreed last month ©EOC

Next year’s European Games in Poland could be delayed or even cancelled "without financial consequences" should there be an "uncontrolled influx of refugees" caused by Russia’s military assault on Ukraine, it has been revealed.

Janusz Kozioł, vice-president of the Kraków-Małopolska 2023 European Games and plenipotentiary of the Mayor of Krakow for the development of physical culture, confirmed that a force majeure had been added to the host city contract in light of the war in Ukraine.

The clause has reportedly been included in the agreement to ensure that all parties are free from liability or obligation should the war impact on the staging of the Games.

The host city contract for Kraków-Małopolska 2023 was finally agreed last month after a European Olympic Committee (EOC) delegation, headed by President Spyros Capralos, travelled to the Polish Olympic Committee headquarters in Warsaw to finalise the long-awaited deal.

The European Games are set to take place in Kraków and the regions of Małopolska and Śląsk in Poland from June 21 to 2 July in 2023.

But Polish news website Kraków Nasze Miasto reports that the host city contract features provisions in response to the war in Ukraine which has resulted in millions of citizens fleeing their home country to seek refuge in Poland.

"In a situation where the hostilities on the Polish-Ukrainian border intensified and there was an uncontrolled influx of refugees, then the Games can be moved or cancelled without financial consequences," said Kozioł in a report by Kraków Nasze Miasto.

Millions of Ukrainians have fled to Poland following Russia's invasion of their home country ©Getty Images
Millions of Ukrainians have fled to Poland following Russia's invasion of their home country ©Getty Images

"This is a force majeure that cannot be influenced by anyone.

"The related provision, proposed by the city, was finally adopted."

Ukraine has been under attack since Russia launched a full-scale invasion on February 24.

Poland has welcomed the large majority of refugees from Ukraine with more than 3.6 million fleeing to the neighbouring country, according to the United Nations.

"If the force majeure event lasts for a period of three consecutive months, each party will have the right to terminate the contract with written confirmation with immediate effect," the contract reads, as per Kraków Nasze Miasto.

Under terms outlined in the reported contract, all parties can agree to move the Games to a new date but "if such a date cannot be fixed within one month from the date of the events in questions, the European Games will be cancelled without liability for the parties".

EOC President Spyros Capralos put pen to paper to confirm Kraków-Małopolska as host for next year's European Games ©EOC
EOC President Spyros Capralos put pen to paper to confirm Kraków-Małopolska as host for next year's European Games ©EOC

"The EOC, together with the Organizing Committee, also has the right to decide to exclude the Olympic Committees from participation in the games, if they violate the rules of the Olympic movement, ethics, etc," added Kozioł.

Following the signing of the host city contract, EOC President Capralos described the agreement as an "important milestone" and claimed it "set the blueprint for the future of Europe’s premier multisport event".

"Poland is a natural fit to host this event due to the country’s incredible sporting history, but also because the people are an embodiment of the values the EOC and the European Games seek to promote," added Capralos.

The Polish Government has committed more than PLN141 million (£25 million/$33 million/€30 million) which cover the renovation of the Henryk Reyman’s Municipal Stadium which is due to host the Opening Ceremony on June 21 next year.

The funding also includes the construction of three or four 3x3 basketball courts at the KS Cracovia 100th Anniversary Hall Sports Centre for Disabled People, and the modernisation of canoe facilities at the Kolna Sports and Recreation Centre.

The Government has also invested PLN 350 million (£63 million/$82 million/€76 million) into infrastructure for the region in time for the Games.

There are 26 sports on the programme in Poland, including competitions in 18 Olympic sports which are due to serve as qualification events for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

The further eight Olympic sports are set to hold European Championships as part of the Games.

insidethegames has contacted the EOC for comment.