Organizers: European champs moved from Antwerp


ANTWERP, Belgium (AP) -- Antwerp organizers said Thursday that the European swimming championships will be moved from the Belgian city because of a budget shortfall.

Antwerp organizer Georges Straetemans, who is also vice chairman of the technical committee of European swimming federation LEN, said the event will be held in London at the Olympic swimming complex.

LEN refused to comment ahead of a planned announcement later Thursday.

London Olympic organizers denied the championship would be held in London.

"The event will not be taking place in London," the committee said in a statement.

Straetemans said in a telephone interview that the shortfall was more than $525,000, but insisted he was confident organizers could have found new sponsors to bridge the gap before LEN decided to pull the championships out of Belgium.

The event was due to be held from May 16-27 in Antwerp. It is unclear if the dates will remain the same when it moves.

Antwerp had an ambitious plan to build a temporary swimming pool in its 12,000-capacity Sports Palace, counting on huge interest since the event would be held only two months ahead of the London Games.

"After one of the financial partners stepped out, the financial gap was such that we could no longer do it," Straetemans said.