Hickey says a decision will be made after Christmas (ATR)
(ATR) Around the Rings
has learned that the European Olympic Committees is delaying a decision on the 2019 European Games host.
Earlier this year, ATR was told that cities in Turkey and Russia were among those in line to stage the continental Games in 2019. The EOC executive committee was expected to decide the host city in the autumn and present it for approval at the November general assembly in Baku.
EOC president Pat Hickey tells ATR that new cities have approached the Olympic body expressing an interest in hosting the 2019 Games.
The Irish IOC Executive Board member said there was not enough time to answer the cities’ questions and undertake evaluation visits before the EOC’s Baku meeting.
Hickey revealed that advanced negotiations were underway with five cities to host the 2019 multisports event. “We don’t want to jeopardise anything,” he said, adding that a decision would be taken after Christmas.
“Because of new interest from cities we don’t have the time to wrap it up,” he said.
“What we are doing is we sit down with them and say what our requirements are and ask what theirs are and we endeavour to tailor-make the Games for that city,” he explained.
Hickey and Baku 2015 COO Simon Clegg (Baku 2015)
said the 20-sport program of the 2015 inaugural Games in the Azerbaijan capital may be a one-off.
“What applies for Baku could be totally different for the 2019 city. We said that from day one,” he said.
“We don’t want a bidding race, a bidding war. We want to zone in on a city and we want to tailor-make the Games for that particular city and its resources.”
Hickey said the EOC was conducting the bidding contest in a “low-key way”, attempting to “get away from bidding bureaucracy and red tape, get away from the Olympic bidding concept”.
“People are so nervous about bidding for anything,” he added, an oblique reference to the bidding contest for the 2022 Winter Olympics, whose field was reduced to three cities following Munich and Stockholm falling by the wayside early on.
The EOC has no rotation policy for the European Games, but after Baku 2015 it is thought it may be seek to move the Games to Western Europe as a matter of geographical balance.
The EOC's general assembly is scheduled for Nov. 21-22 in Baku.
Reported by Mark Bisson.
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