The European Olympic Committees (EOC) have to be "extremely careful" with the proposed expansion of the summer edition of the European Youth Olympic Festival (EYOF), in order to ensure that as many countries and cities as possible are still in a financial position to bid to host the Games, President Patrick Hickey has warned.
Hickey last week announced the formation of a Working Group to look at the format of the summer and winter EYOFs, citing pressure from a number of summer sports in particular as the reason behind its creation.
But, speaking here at the winter edition of the EYOF in Vorarlberg and Liechtenstein, Hickey claimed the EOC does not want to create a situation whereby countries and cities are reluctant to bid for the Games.
"We don't want the event to get too big, to the point where it gets out of control and it's not manageable," said Hickey.
"Also, we want to keep it that most cities in Europe, or countries, are in the position to host it as it is at the moment."
Hickey confirmed the Working Group will investigate the expansion and report back on their findings at the EOC's General Assembly, scheduled to take place in Prague on November 20 and 21.
It will then be up to the 50 nations, including the recently admitted Kosovo, to make a decision on the matter, Hickey said.
The EYOF is a biennial event which first took place in Brussels in 1991 when they staged the Summer event, followed two years later by the Winter edition in Aosta, Italy.
The most recent edition of the Summer EYOF, in Utrecht two years ago, featured nine sports.
This year's event in Tbilisi, Georgia, due to take place between July 25 and August 1, is set to include the same amount of sports.
The winter edition of the EYOF begins here today, following last night's Opening Ceremony, marking the first time that an Olympic event has been co-hosted by two countries.
A key intention of the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) Olympic Agenda 2020 reform process, which was unanimously approved last month, was to encourage joint bids from countries, and Hickey believes the EOC has set an important precedent in selecting both Vorarlberg and Liechtenstein as hosts of the 2015 EYOF.
"I'd like to think that we in many ways gave the IOC many things to think about," he said.
"It's good for the system."
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