POSTED: November 20th 2015

Olympics: EOC puts Russia on hold for 2019 European Games

EOC President Patrick Hickey / SFC
EOC President Patrick Hickey / SFC

LAURA WALDEN at the INTERCONTINENTAL HOTEL in PRAGUE / Sports Features Communications 

(SFC)  EOC President Patrick Hickey today addressed the question as to who would host the 2nd edition of the European Games by identifying Russia as the proposed host nation, however he put them on hold until the pending doping issues are resolved.

The 44th General Assembly is taking place in Prague gathering the NOCs from the European continent.

Following the scathing results of the WADA independent commission report, the Russian anti-doping laboratory was suspended by WADA and the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) suspended the athletics federation causing a critical fallout for Russian sport. If they don't address the accusations and clarify that they are WADA compliant Russia risks not being able to compete in the Rio 2016 Olympics. 

These revelations threw a spanner in the works for ongoing talks to host the European Games in either Sochi or Kazan or possibly a co-hosting with both cities. 

In view of what was happening the EOC was forced to table their decision that was set to be announced here in Prague to a later date.

The EOC issued a statement:

"Our inaugural European Games - Baku 2015 - was a spectacular success, and a wonderful way to add, finally, the missing fifth ring to the Continental Games of the world.

Now, of course, our focus is on 2019. And in this competitive world, we are working to innovate and improve for our second edition.

The EOC held discussions with several nations, and I thank them all for their interest. As you know, we developed an excellent understanding with the Netherlands Olympic Committee in particular - it was just not to be on this occasion.

But ultimately, our preferred host nation was Russia and we hoped to present their concept to you all here in Prague. But for obvious reasons, the priority for Russia, for the Russian Olympic Committee, and - by extension - the EOC, must be elsewhere.

This is a time for the European Olympic Committees to offer our support to the ROC, as a strong and loyal proponent of the Olympic Movement in Europe and globally.

President Zhukov: the EOC is deeply committed to helping the ROC's drive to solve your country's doping issues. I am pleased to see that Russia is cooperating fully with the IOC, WADA and the IAAF. I urge you to leave no stone unturned in your mission to become WADA Code compliant, so that we can see clean Russian track and field athletes representing a clean Russian athletics federation in Rio.

Russia is still the EOC's preferred partner for hosting the 2019 European Games. That is provided the independent authorities can confirm Russia's ability to support an anti-doping programme that meets the highest international standards.

The Games are four years away and there is real potential here to demonstrate Russia's new, robust anti-doping system and clean-sport culture through the 2019 European Games. I believe Russia can lead from the front in the future.

Baku 2015 proved that the European Games is already an attractive property with massive potential: 6,000 participants competing in 20 sports, watched by 1.7 billion around the world.

And the appeal of the Games will only improve second time around - particularly as the EOC is working with European Athletics to develop an innovative, world-class track and field format for the Sports Programme in 2019.

Dear colleagues and friends, I assure you that I will be keeping you updated on all our decisions on the 2019 European Games. And I look forward to starting preparations as soon as possible for what will be another amazing event for European sport and culture in four years' time."

**LAURA WALDEN has over twenty-five years of experience in the Olympic Movement, formerly at the European Olympic Committees with SportEurope under former IOC President Dr. Jacques Rogge and IOC Member Mario Pescante. She worked with the Rome 2004 and Turin 2006 Olympic bids and also managed PR & media for Dr. Jacques Rogge during his campaign for the presidency.

Keywords · Olympics · European Games · EOC · Patrick Hickey

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