Athletics appears set to play a leading role in the next European Games after Patrick Hickey, President of the European Olympic Committees (EOC), revealed the next edition will be held at a time to ensure it does not clash with the sport's other leading events.
Hickey has been working closely with Svein Arne Hansen since the Norwegian was elected President of European Athletics in April to try to find a way to ensure the sport is fully part of the next Games after it appeared only in a minor role at this year's inaugural's event in Baku.
That is because the event in Azerbaijan's capital clashed with the European Team Championships.
The final of the Super League, which featured most of the continent's top athletes, had been awarded to Cheboksary in Russia in November 2012, a month before the European Games was approved and awarded to Baku by the EOC.
Baku 2015 instead hosted the European Team Championships Third League, which was of such a poor standard that most performances did not register in the top 200 of the International Association of Athletics Federations' annual rankings.
Hickey, however, has now announced that the 2019 European Games will be held between June 14 and 29, aligning the event with the European Athletics calendar.
The venue for the second European Games is due to be announced by the EOC at its annual General Assembly in Prague next month following the withdrawal of The Netherlands on the eve of the start of Baku 2015.
"European Athletics and the European Olympic Committees have strong shared values and we both put athletes and our constituent members at the heart of our planning," Hickey, who is also a member of the International Olympic Committee's ruling Executive Board, told delegates at the European Athletics Convention in Lausanne.
“With Svein Arne’s new vision for athletics in Europe, and the advent of the European Games, I believe there is a great synergy between our two organisations and I look forward to continuing our discussions to find the optimum solution for athletes for the summer of 2019.”
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