European Athletics unlikely to be involved in inaugural European Games in 2015 but keen to talk about future co-operation with new event
Christian Milz, the Director General of European Athletics, believes 2015 is too soon to stage the new European Games, but his track and field organisation is not opposed to getting involved in the multi-sport event in future.
On the day that Baku was announced by the European Olympic Committees as the host of the inaugural event in three years’ time, Athletics Weekly asked Milz why European Athletics was not a fan of the idea due to the new event clashing with the long-established and now biennial European Athletics Championships.
He replied: “That would be wrong to say we are not a fan. First of all, we have already signed contracts with organisers, signed contracts with cities, signed contracts with television and signed contracts with sponsors. It means for us it would not be the right thing to lose the trust and confidence we have with these partners and to go for 2015.”
After Helsinki staged the European Athletics Championships in July this year, Zurich is set to hold the event in 2014 and Amsterdam in 2016, while Cheboksary in Russia is due to host the 2015 European Team Championships and Prague will hold the European Indoor Championships in 2015.
Given this, Milz believes the first European Games has arrived too soon, certainly for athletics. “We believe it is a bit too early,” he said. “Talking about 2019, we believe that a multi-sport championship could be the future as long as we respect the value of our sport and autonomy of our sport.
“We are open to discussion and this is what we informed the European Olympic Committee. We never, never closed the door as we believe multi-sport events could be the future. But we need to know and understand more about the model.”
Up to 7000 athletes are expected to take part in the first Games in the Azerbaijani city, possibly in June 2015, and 13 sports are already confirmed for the Games, although this does not include gymnastics, swimming and of course athletics.