Today: Last Update:

  • Hickey Teases 2019 European Games Announcement


    (ATR) European Olympic Committees president Patrick Hickey tells Around the Rings an announcement regarding the 2019 European Games will come Nov. 20.

    Prague's Old Town Square (ATR)
    Hickey detailed the discussions on the 2019 European Games to ATR on the eve of the 44th EOC general assembly in Prague.

    Negotiations have been taking place for some months for Sochi and Kazan to co-host the second edition of the Games, following Baku this summer. However, if the World Anti Doping Agency deems Russia non-compliant, the country's ability to host international sporting events could be called into question.

    “Russia has already made statements that they’ll take this reform very strong and president Bach is also pushing and pushing them to do it,” Hickey told ATR. “ We’ll make an announcement tomorrow at the General Assembly about 2019 and we’ll be there all the time with Russia to help them with this quest.”

    Hickey added: “I think it will be very achievable.”

    The International Athletics Association Federations Council suspended Russia from international track and field competition by a 22-1 vote on Nov. 13. A Moscow doping lab under the auspices of Russia’s anti-doping agency has been deemed incapable of administering WADA Code compliant tests.

    EOC leader Patrick Hickey in Prague (ATR)
    Pressed by ATR if other candidate cities are being considered Hickey said, “It’s complicated in the sense that we have to be very careful what we say. We’ll just read a statement tomorrow and as a result of that statement it will be very clear to everyone what the situation is.”

    Hickey noted that an official announcement on the host of the 2019 European Games “will probably come in the first three months of next year.”

    Bach, who arrived in the Czech capital on Thursday, offered his support to Hickey and the EOC.

    “We have seen great success of the inaugural European Games and now it is up to the European Olympic Committees,” Bach said in an interview with Czech Television. “I think they can be pretty confident.”

    The Netherlands had planned to host the 2019 European Games, but backed out just two days prior to the opening of the Baku Games due to lack of financial guarantees from its government.

    Hickey said he will meet with Russian NOC president Alexander Zhukov to assist in tackling the nation’s widespread doping problem and related corruption.

    “He has the ear of the president of the country and I think he has all the tools to do a really good job,” Hickey said of Zhukov. “Of course, we don’t condone anything that has happened and I’ve made this very clear to him and he knows that.”

    Meeting with Czech Republic President

    Sheikh Ahmad, Hickey & Bach in Prague (ATR)
    Bach was greeted by Hickey, ANOC leader Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah and Czech NOC president Jiri Kejval upon his arrival to the Prague InterContinental on Thursday. The downtown hotel is the venue for the two-day meeting.

    The influential sport leaders met with Czech Republic president Milos Zeman at his Prague office on Thursday afternoon.

    “We just spoke about sport in general, it was mainly between him and president Bach,” Hickey said of the meeting. “He was very supportive of sport and apparently is a big supporter of the Czech NOC. He had very kind words to say about Jiri Kejval, the president of the Czech NOC.”

    Sport leaders from 50 European nations are in Prague for the two-day General Assembly, Nov. 20-21.

    Paris 2024 Delegation in Prague

    Representatives from Paris 2024 will attend the Prague General Assembly in lieu of the horrific terrorists attacks that killed at least 129 people in the French capital last Friday.

    Paris 2024 co-president Tony Estanguet (ATR)
    Paris deputy mayor Jean-Francois Martins will attend, while Mayor Anne Hidalgo remains home as the city grieves and tries to return to normalcy.

    “Our job now is to help the French NOC overcome this,” Hickey said of the Paris tragedy.

    “I’ll be making a statement tomorrow and although Paris has been the most recent [tragedy], we’ll also be mentioning our friends in Turkey who had a terrorist attack in Ankara and the Russian plane that was brought down,” the EOC president said.

    “Any member of the European family that has been affected like that we’ll take into our thoughts,” Hickey said.

    Paris 2024 co-presidents Bernard Lapasset and Tony Estanguet will be joined in the Czech capital by IOC member Guy Drut and director of international relations Sophie Lorant, among others.

    Delegations from the Paris challengers in the race for the 2024 Games – Budapest, Hamburg, Rome and Los Angeles – are also coming to Prague. However, Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti opted to forego the trip as his counterpart from Paris, Hidalgo, is unable to attend.

    WADA Cites Six Countries Non-Compliant

    Hickey also offered his take on the WADA Council’s determination yesterday in Colorado Springs that six countries – Russia, Andorra, Argentina, Bolivia, Israel and Ukraine – are not code compliant, while an additional six nations have received warnings.

    “It just shows you it is not confined to Russia alone,” Hickey said. “Speaking with president Bach today, he’s determined big-time to clean everything up.”

    “It’s time for everyone to wake up and put in a strict regime of no-nonsense, no messing around and enforce this big-time.”

    “We have to do it because it is grossly unfair to the clean athletes who are doing everything correctly.”

    Written by Brian Pinelli

    For general comments or questions, click here.

    20 Years at #1: Your best source of news about the Olympics is, for subscribers only.