(ATR) Around the Rings is told that Minsk is among the possible host cities for the 2019 Games.
The delayed bidding process for the second edition of the European Olympic Committees flagship multi-sports events will be the subject of possibly intense discussion at the Sept. 23 EOC executive committee meeting in Bratislava.
Minsk, also the venue for the EOC general assembly Oct. 21 to 22, is among a handful of cities bidding for the European Games.
The Belarus capital has long been mentioned as a potential host but was sidelined after the EOC last November chose Russia as its preferred bid. However, the city is now back in the reckoning after Russia’s bid was wrecked by WADA’s expose of Russia’s state-sponsored doping scandal.
Two EOC executives tell Around the Rings that Minsk is one of the cities vying for the Games.
“Anything could happen right now,” said one of the officials.
But he rejected the suggestion that the 2019 edition may be scrapped altogether because of the stalled host city selection process. The Netherlands was awarded the Games in May 2015 before withdrawing on the eve of the Baku European Game after failing to secure the Dutch government’s financial support.
“I think we will have some kind of activity in 2019, but the closer we get [to 2019] the more we will have to think about the concept for these Games,” he said, suggesting that the billions of dollars Azerbaijan threw at the Games was unlikely to be repeated.
“It could take many other formats. I think all possibilities should be thought through,”
Minsk will host the EOC assembly in October.
The other EOC executive said the bidding process, among other European Olympic projects, had been further delayed because of the ticketing scandal that has engulfed Pat Hickey, who has stepped aside from the presidency of the organization.
Hickey is charged in Brazil with selling tickets for the purpose of touting, false advertising, fraud, money laundering and tax evasion. Hickey, who is described by Rio police as the ring leader, denies any wrongdoing. He remains in Brazil where his case is expected to go to trial.
Russia’s bidding hopes to co-host the 2019 European Games in Sochi and Kazan, were crushed in the wake of the McLaren report for WADA that revealed evidence of state-directed interference in Russian doping controls at the Sochi Winter Games.
After WADA investigator Richard McLaren’s revelations on Russia, the IOC said it “will not organize or give patronage” to any sports event or meeting in the 2014 Olympic host country.
The provisional measure was to be reviewed at the IOC executive board December meeting. But the final reports that the IOC will consider in its decision have now been delayed until the beginning of 2017.
Reported by Mark Bisson
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