Javier Lambán accused the Spanish Olympic Committee of helping the Catalan independence movement in the development of the Pyrenees-Barcelona 2030 bid ©Getty Images

Aragon President Javier Lambán has claimed that the Spanish Olympic Committee (COE) was an acting as ally to the Catalan independence movement through its perceived bias towards the region during the ill-fated Pyrenees-Barcelona 2030 bid process.

The bid was scrapped earlier this month, following prolonged infighting, after the Aragon Government refused to endorse a proposal the COE and Catalan Government were happy with.

The allocation of events between the two regions was a key stumbling block, with Aragon officials unhappy at the idea of Alpine skiing taking place exclusively in Catalonia.

Catalonia's pro-independence Government also did not want to include Aragon and some suggested the region should bid for the Winter Olympics alone.

The bid being abandoned has not signalled the end of arguments between the regions, with Lambán now accused of rejecting a proposal Aragon advisors were happy with for political gain.

According to leaking audio recordings obtained by multiple Spanish media outlets, technical advisors from Aragon made an agreement with the Catalonians for Aragon to have 54 events across cross-country skiing, biathlon, curling and speed and figure skating, while Catalonia would have 42 in Alpine skiing, snowboarding, freestyle skiing and ice hockey.

However, Lambán then rejected the plan because he considered it to be unfair and wanted to divide Alpine skiing by gender, with one region taking men's competition and the other the women's.

Bormio and Cortina d'Ampezzo have such an agreement in place for the Milan Cortina 2026 Winter Olympics.  

The recordings were from meetings held between representatives of Aragon, Catalonia, the Spanish Government and the COE.

Aragonese representatives have claimed that the audio only gives a part of the story and lack context.

"It is annoying that part of some recordings of one of the first meetings are used and mixed with others that were produced in the last one, out of context and with the intention of causing an incorrect interpretation," said Jose Ángel Hierro, an Aragon technical advisor, as reported by El País.

Former Spanish basketball player and International Olympic Committee (IOC) Athletes' Commission member Pau Gasol is among those to have expressed frustration at collapse of the bid.

"The decision of the COE seems right to me because the candidacy has tried to politicise, especially from the part of Aragon," Gasol said.

"As Alejandro Blanco [COE President] has said, Catalonia has had exemplary behaviour and of which I am proud."

This, as well as other criticism, triggered Lambán to hit back on Twitter

Lambán said three-time Olympic medallist Gasol "should be better informed" and claimed "sporting criteria" was not dictating the COE's actions.

"In this case, it has been an ally of [Catalan] independence", Lambán claimed.

Spain has never held the Winter Olympics, although Barcelona was the Summer Games host in 1992.

Blanco said the COE wanted to maintain dialogue with the International Olympic Committee (IOC), and its Future Host Commission for the Olympic Winter Games, in the hope of hosting the event after 2030.

The IOC is aiming to name the 2030 host at next year's Session in Mumbai, with Sapporo, Vancouver and Salt Lake City the remaining bids in the race.