The Budapest General Assembly has withdrawn its support, on a conditional basis, for the city to host the 2023 IAAF World Athletics Championships over a dispute between the city’s mayor and the Hungarian government.
Last week, Mayor Gergely Karacsony, of the country's Green Party, announced that the government, under prime minister Viktor Orban, had changed building plans in the city, breaking part of a 2019 agreement.
Karacsony called the assembly to revoke its support of the event if the government were to go ahead with plans to build a campus for China’s Fudan University in an area that had been reserved for affordable housing for 8,000 students.
Another proposal, which did not come to fruition, had been for the assembly to permanently withdraw its support due to the government's supposed backtracking on the agreement, regardless of whether or not it went through with building plans.
Karacsony said: "The capital of Budapest does not want to be the host city of the 2023 World Athletics Championships in the case of the transfer of the area intended for the Budapest student city to the Fudan Hungary University Foundation or otherwise for the development of the Chinese elite university campus."
However, the government says that the assembly has no say in whether or not Budapest hosts the championships because it was the Hungarian Athletics Association (MASZ), with the government's support, that landed the hosting rights in 2018.
The government had agreed to cover the costs of the federation to stage the event, according to MASZ, with a new 36,000-capacity stadium on the Danube River currently being constructed for around €500 million ($590 million).
MASZ said: “Only a member of the international athletics federation is entitled to submit a bid for hosting championships.”
Orban, meanwhile, has said: "The statement of Gergely Karacsony is baseless, the mayor is clearly trying to divert attention from the traffic jams and chaos in the capital."
Balazs Furjes, state minister for Budapest, maintains the assumption that the event will go ahead but that a referendum will be held in regards to the Fudan University project.
A spokesperson from World Athletics told insidethegames: “We understand there are elections taking place in Hungary next year and, as is usual, political parties are setting their agendas.
"We hope that the World Athletics Championships Budapest 2023 will not become a political football."
Next year’s World Athletics Championships, which were originally scheduled for this year but were postponed due to the delay of the Olympic Games in Tokyo, will take place in Eugene in the US from 15 to 24 July.