Baku will host the first European Games, and cities are now queuing up to host the second. (Getty Images)
Around the Rings
has learned that cities in Turkey and Russia could be in line to stage the European Olympic Committees’ continental games in 2019.
The EOC is currently in discussions with potential host cities for the games after Baku 2015.
understands that Istanbul and Mersin in Turkey, along with Kazan and Sochi in Russia, have expressed interest in staging the EOC’s flagship multisports games. Other cities may yet come forward.
High-level discussions between Turkey and EOC leaders are believed to have taken place on the sidelines of SportAccord in Belek earlier this month. Sports minister Akif Cagatay Kilic was involved.
While the outcome of discussions with the EOC will be subject to much internal scrutiny by the government and Turkish NOC, the country’s bidding ambitions are well-known.
In the wake of failed bids for the 2016 and 2020 Olympics, Turkey is mulling a bid for the 2024 Olympics in the months ahead. The 2019 Euro Games is considered a good stepping stone towards realizing these ambitions.
However, Turkey’s decision to withdraw its bid to host the finale of UEFA’s Euro 2020 championships to concentrate on a sole bid for 2024 is a complication for its Olympic quest.
The Turkish Football Federation’s attempts to secure hosting rights for the Euro 2020 championships were only halted when UEFA president Michel Platini decided to make it a pan-European affair. The Frenchman reopened the bidding process to spread the tournament around 13 cities.
Mersin staged last year’s Mediterranean Games and has the right blend of facilities to deliver an impressive continental version for the EOC’s 49 member NOCs.
Kazan hosted last year's Universiade. (Getty Images)
understands that Russia’s sports leaders are exploring the possibility of bringing the 2019 Games to either Kazan or Sochi.
Kazan, host of the 2013 Summer Universiade, has multisports venue capacity ready to go for the EOC’s marquee event. After Sochi’s successful 2014 Games, Russia has an aggressive bidding strategy to put major events in its dazzling new arenas and build on their Olympic legacy.
The EOC has no rotation policy on the European Games, but after Baku 2015, it may be seeking to move the games to western Europe as a matter of geographical balance. Russia may have a better shot at hosting the 2023 event.
The EOC is keeping its bidding process under wraps; other contenders could include Glasgow and Amsterdam/Rotterdam.
The Scottish city, which missed out on the 2018 Youth Olympics to Buenos Aires, is seeking to capitalize on the legacy of this summer’s Commonwealth Games. Since being awarded those games, the city has launched an aggressive major event bidding strategy in partnership with Event Scotland.
EOC president Pat Hickey and the body’s senior officials will advance talks with the interested cities in the coming months. Several officials are expected to visit the bidding cities as part of the evaluation process.
Amsterdam/Rotterdam have long been interested in staging the Olympics, either separately or as a joint bid with 2028 the goal, and may see the European Games as a platform to help fulfil the dream.
The EOC executive committee will decide the 2019 European Games host city in the autumn, with the decision to be ratified at the Nov. 21-22 general assembly in Baku.
Written by Mark Bisson
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