March 12 - Spyros Capralos, the Hellenic Olympic Committee (HOC) President who was last year accused of damaging the Olympic Movement after being implicated in the London 2012 ticket scandal, has today been named as chairman of the Coordination Commission for the inaugural European Games in Baku in 2015.
The former water polo player and two-time Olympian (pictured top), who is also a member of the European Olympic Committee (EOC) Executive Board, was publicly criticised by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) after he allegedly told undercover reporters from Britain's Sunday Times that he had persuaded London 2012 officials to allocate more premium Olympic tickets to his country, despite this being against the rules.
Although the IOC Ethics Commission claimed Capralos, who was re-elected as President of the HOC in February this year, had caused "damage to the reputation of the Olympic Movement" the EOC backed the Greek at its annual meeting in Rome a few days following the release of the ethics report, while the threat of him facing any punishment seems to have largely disappeared.
One year on and the EOC is still endorsing Capralos as President Patrick Hickey confirmed his position at the top of the Coordination Commission for Baku 2015.
"Each member of this EOC Coordination Commission for the inaugural European Games - Baku 2015, has been chosen on their ability to help oversee the preparation for a world class event," said an EOC spokesman.
"The composition will not be affected in any way by speculation and unproven allegations against any individual."
Sitting beneath Capralos in the position of deputy chair is Croatia's former Prime Minister and current President of the Croatian Olympic Committee (COC), Zlatko Mateša, with Spanish Olympic Committee and Madrid 2020 President Alejandro Blanco and Dutch Olympic Committee President André Bolhuis making up some of the high profile members of the Coordination Commission.
Ukrainian Olympic Committee President and International Association of Athletics Federations vice-president Sergey Bubka, French Olympic Committee President Denis Masseglia, Slovenian Olympic Committee President and International Ski Federation (FIS) vice-president Janez Kocijančič and Danish Olympic Committee President Niels Nygaard are also named as members for the first European Games' Coordination Commission.
Belgian Olympic Committee secretary general Guido de Bondt; Nese Gündogan, secretary general, of the Turkish Olympic Committee; Artūrus Poviliūnas Honorary President of the Lithuanian Olympic Committee; former Munich 2018 chief executive Bernhard Schwank; Finish Olympic Committee chair Roger Talermo; and British Olympic Association vice-chairman Albert Woods, President of the European Canoe Federation complete the line up of big names.
Pierce O'Callaghan and Andrew Craig, who was one of the main consultants during London 2012's Olympic bid, have been named as advisors on the Coordination Commission.
Hickey himself, EOC vice-president Alexander Kozlovsky, secretary general Raffaele Pagnozzi and treasurer Kikis Lazarides are all said to play an active role on the Coordination Commission "to ensure a robust and rigorous assessment process for the Games preparation".
"This is a very strong Coordination Commission for the inaugural European Games – Baku 2015," Hickey said.
"Each member comes with a wealth of expertise and experience that will help the EOC to ensure that these historic Games set the highest of standards for the next edition of the European Games to follow in 2019."
Baku 2015, chaired by First Lady of Azerbaijan Mehriban Aliyeva, will also nominate technical experts who will be announced in due course.
The European Games, a multisport event for elite athletes in the continent that will be held every four years, was launched following a majority vote of 49 National Olympic Committees during the EOC general assembly in December 2012.
Up to 7,000 athletes are expected to compete at Baku 2015 in June of that year and the majority of summer sports European Federations have since committed to partnering with the EOC to help make up the Games programme, which will be announced later this year.
"I am confident that with such a visionary organising committee and this powerful Commission overseeing the Games preparation, we can meet our ultimate aim: to engage and involve more of Europe's youth in sport through innovative and flexible means," Hickey added.
"These Games will enable new markets to gain experience in hosting major sports events whilst giving elite European athletes an opportunity to compete on their home continent."
The EOC has said that since the launch of the European Games it has received enquiries from a number of European cities wishing to host the 2019 event and it will soon start to review the bidding process.
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February 2013: Hellenic Olympic Committee President implicated in London 2012 ticket scandal re-elected
January 2013: Azerbaijan First Lady to head Organising Committee for European Games in Baku
December 2012: Baku to host first European Games in 2015
December 2012: European Olympic Committees on collision course with IOC after they back officials in London 2012 ticket scandal
December 2012: HOC President ruled to have "damaged reputation of Olympic Movement" after London 2012 ticket scandal