The European Olympic Committees voted on Saturday to "launch a European Games multi-sport competition" with the first event taking place in Baku, Azerbaijan in '15, according to Terry Daley of REUTERS. The EOC held a secret ballot at its 41st General Assembly in Rome with "38 voting in favour, eight against and three abstaining." The event will take place every four years and "will include 15 Olympic sports and two non-Olympic sports, which are yet to be chosen." There has been "considerable opposition" to the idea of a new Games event, particularly from the European Athletics Association, which has "already voted against the participation of its members." The EOC is also "likely to have problems convincing other sports that already have well-established events in a packed European calendar, with swimming being one of the key Olympic sports that would struggle to find time for the new event" (REUTERS, 12/8).
GRAND PLANS: The AP reported dates have "not been fixed yet, but as many as 7,000 athletes are expected to participate." Sports that "could be confirmed" include: archery, badminton, boxing, canoeing, fencing, handball, judo, rugby sevens, shooting, taekwondo, table tennis, triathlon and volleyball. Negotiations have also begun with the European Union of Gymnastics (AP, 12/8). The AFP reported that the new event is the "brainchild of EOC President Pat Hickey." Hickey came up with the idea three years ago and said that the new event was "not intended to be a rival to the Olympic Games." Spanish NOC President Alejandro Blanco "welcomed the announcement." Blanco said, "Europe is the only continent without their own Games" (AFP, 12/8). The SID reported that there already is resistance against the introduction of a counterpart to the Asian and Pan American Games in Germany. German Olympic Sport Association (DOSB) spokesperson Christian Klaue said, “The top federations inside the DOSB have announced their dismissal of European Games last December” (SID, 12/7).