This weekend, eighteen teams will contest the Scottish Mixed Curling Championship at Curl Aberdeen. The draw is here. There are three sections, one of eight, from which four teams will qualify for Sunday's quarterfinals, and two of five teams, each of which will supply two teams for the quarters.
Alan Smith is the defending champion and he will be on the ice with his team tomorrow (Friday) at 3.30 against Ron Brewster.
But 'the story' is not really about the Scottish event, or how enjoyable this will be. It is about the fact that, as it stands at present, the winners this weekend are going nowhere! At the closing ceremony of the 2008 European Mixed Championship in Kitzbuehel last September, there was no announcement of where the 2009 event is to be held! And silence has reigned since.
I've heard that the preferred site is Prague, in the Czech Republic, and that would be an ideal venue. I was fortunate in being able to visit the rink (if indeed it is the four-sheet rink that is being considered) with my club, Reform, in October 2007 (see here), and enjoyed the experience very much, despite the airline losing my suitcase on the way! We had a great time and were made very welcome.
So what's the problem? The Euro Mixed is run by the European Curling Federation. They ask for a sizeable 'rights fee' from the hosting venue. Could the amount of this have been a sticking point in the negotiations? I wonder. Prague's main man, Karel Kubeshka, said last week, "EMCC 2009 is still under negotiations but we expect the final decision during next week and then everything will be announced."
And Jeanette Johnston, the Royal Club Board member who is member-at-large on the ECF executive (having been defeated in the election for the Vice-presidency of the organisation at the meetings in O'Vik in December), is confident that Prague will be the venue.
I've been keeping my eyes on the ECF website in anticipation of an announcement! And when will EMCC09 be? Next September? October? Whoever wins at Aberdeen this weekend may need to be flexible!
Top: The EMCC banner. What venue will be added this year?
Above: Inside the Prague four-sheet rink eighteen months ago. Below: The outside of the facility. Pics by Bob.