European Games will not compete with Olympics: EOC

Fri Dec 14, 2012 5:19am EST
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By Karolos Grohmann

BERLIN (Reuters) - The new European Games, with the first edition in Azerbaijan's Baku in 2015, will not compete with the Olympic Games for athletes, cash or the spotlight, the head of the European Olympic Committees (EOC) Patrick Hickey said.

The EOC announced its plan for a continental Games last week amid some opposition, as Hickey said, from "within the Olympic movement".

The EOC has yet to get all the big Olympic sports federations on board, including the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) which had fixed its calendar up to 2016 long before the new event was announced, swimming and basketball.

"We do not want to do a copy of the Olympics. We want to be innovative and different," EOC president Hickey told Reuters in an interview. "We will have the core sports but we are flexible.

"The reason we are staging it that year is that we see in the future for this to be a qualifying event for the Olympics (held a year later)," he said. "But that has to be negotiated with the federations and the International Olympic Committee."

The plan is to have 15 of the 28 Olympic sports represented, among them volleyball, boxing, judo and rugby sevens.

Three non-Olympic sports, including dance sport and karate, will also be part of the event which will have some 7,000 athletes compared to the 10,000 at the Olympics.

"We are the only continent without senior Games. We do not have an event like the Asian Games or the Pan American or African Games," said Hickey, who also heads the Irish Olympic Committee.   Continued...

European Olympic Committee (EOC) President Patrick Hickey gives a news conference after the EOC's 37th general assembly in Istanbul November 22, 2008. REUTERS/Osman Orsal