European Olympic Committees (EOC) Coordination Commission chairman Spyros Capralos has heaped praise on the venues that will be used for the second European Games in Minsk next year, while urging organisers to accelerate the process of local recruitment.
In comments at the conclusion of the Commission’s second visit to the Belarus capital here, Capralos said the EOC was “very happy with the venues - the venues are first-class”.
“We were very much impressed by Dinamo Stadium, also by the new shooting venue which will be completed by the end of this month," he added.
The need now, he said, was to move onto the overlay, adding: “We think it will be quite easy to integrate people working in the venues with the Organising Committee."
While the Games will see more than 4,000 athletes competing across 15 sports, they have required little new sports infrastructure, in keeping with the EOC’s intention to tailor the event to the host city's interests and facilities.
With fewer than 300 days remaining before the Opening Ceremony in June 2019, Capralos highlighted a need now to “increase staff numbers at the Organising Committee”.
While acknowledging that it can be difficult to persuade people to leave permanent jobs for posts that would last around nine months, he said that ways needed to be found to incentivise people to make the switch.
The Greek official reiterated his call for more delegation of decision-making authority as the Games get closer.
"In any big event, success depends on flexibility, quick decision-making,” he said.
“This requires delegation of authority in the end to venue teams.”
He pointed to some delays in appointing key contractors, while adding that assurances had been received that this would be resolved.
He also spoke of a need for “greater cross-function integration”, saying “this will need to be accelerated”.
“Minsk 2019's success will be the EOC’s success,” he concluded.
Referring to Minsk 2019 as “the main event of our sporting history”, Organising Committee chief executive George Katulin disclosed that EOC experts would return once again to the two-million-strong city in mid-October.