Azerbaijan's capital Baku to host the first European Games in 2015
European Olympic Committees' 49 members vote to launch the event
The EOC says it has "plenty of technical details to decide"
The Games will be in same year as athletics and swimming worlds
Europe will stage its own “Olympics” in 2015, the region’s 49 member committees voted on Saturday.
The Azerbaijan capital of Baku will host the first European Games, with around 15 sports to be on the program for the event – which will be held “in spring or early summer” according to the European Olympic Committees website.
The decision may put it in conflict with other sporting bodies. The International Athletics Federation will stage its world championships in Beijing in August 2015, while the swimming world championships will be held in Russia in July that year.
The European Games will come a year ahead of the next Summer Olympics, to be held in Brazil.
“The NOCs of Europe voted the proposal by secret ballot with an overwhelming majority,” the EOC website reported after day two of the body’s 41st general assembly in Rome.
“There are plenty of technical details to decide, but the Assembly has above all shown its will to go ahead and make this sports event, which is in no way intended to be a copy of the Olympic Games, a tool with which to enhance the attractiveness of sport.
“The NOCs have received assurance that the event will not cost them a penny, but bring them financial gains.”
The idea of a European Games was first mooted three years ago but has been “in the ‘Olympic air’ for a long time,” the EOC said.
Baku bidded to host the 2020 Summer Olympics but failed to make the IOC’s shortlist as Istanbul, Madrid and Tokyo were selected. The vote for the host city will take place next September.
“The Baku delegation illustrated their project, presenting a modern and dynamic city that is practically ready to host this new sports event,” the EOC said.