EOC plans to award 2023 European Games by year-end
The European Olympic Committees hopes to name the host city of the 2023 European Games by the end of this year, allowing a longer lead-in than for the first two editions of the event.
At its first board meeting since November's elections in Lausanne yesterday, the EOC executive committee said it plans to launch the official tendering process in May and unveil the host at EOC general assembly in Marbella, Spain between 9 and 11 November.
The EOC claims to have held talks with several interested countries - albeit it will not name them publicly - and has previously expressed a desire to stage the European Games in western Europe, following the inaugural edition in Baku, Azerbaijan in 2015 and next year's games in Minsk, Belarus.
The 2019 European Games was originally headed for the Netherlands, but the country pulled out in 2015 citing financial reasons. The EOC then announced in July 2016 that it would talk to other cities about potentially staging the games, after its hopes of hosting the event in Russia were dashed by the publication of the McLaren report, which uncovered a state-sponsored doping programme there.
Minsk and Baku were given just two-and-a-half years to organise their respective games, compared with the four-and-a-half year lead-in that the 2023 host should get.
Baku spent a reported $10 billion on European Games-related projects - a figure that scared off several western European cities that might have bid for the 2019 edition - but there has been no need for such a financial outlay in Minsk, which has already built or refurbished a range of sports venues in recent years for major sporting events, such as the 2013 UCI Track Cycling World Championships and ice hockey's 2014 IIHF World Championship.
The EOC executive hopes the message that the European Games can be organised on a smaller scale than in Baku will encourage a competitive bid process for 2023.
Janez Kocijančič, president of the EOC, said: "I have every confidence that the Minsk games will provide a dynamic blueprint, aligned with the principles of Olympic Agenda 2020, for future editions to follow. Each country is different and it is important to have an adaptable model that will encourage countries of all sizes to tender for the Games in the years to come."