By Emily Goddard

rowingJuly 15 - Rowing will not appear at the inaugural European Games in Baku in 2015 after no suitable venue was found for the sport.

An International Rowing Federation (FISA) delegation visited the Kur river, which offers 17 kilometres of training water, in the city of Mingachevir, but said "several obstacles", including the flow in the river, insufficient accommodation and its position for international access, prevented it from being a suitable course.

Rowing officials then visited Lake Khojahasan on the western edge of Baku, however this also proved to be an unfeasible option as the infrastructure required could not be completed by the start of the Games in June 2015.

"The organising committee was willing to include rowing and a FISA delegation inspected the possible stretches of water which were considered for the rowing competition," FISA President Denis Oswald told insidethegames.

"Only one would have met our requirements but the water is very polluted.

"The Minister of Sport indicated that he would see whether it would be possible to clean that lake before the Games.

"A study was made and the answer was no.

"The Minister indicated that he is still very much interested to develop rowing on that lake, and therefore the lake will be cleaned but it is a huge undertaking which will take several years.

"It is obvious that we cannot have rowing if there is no suitable venue."

Denis OswaldDenis Oswald had originally said he would not support a European Games

The news is likely to come as a blow to the continent's rowers as this represents the second time that their hopes of competing in the inaugural European Games have been dashed.

Oswald had originally been opposed to the event, saying in a letter to European Olympic Committees Association (EOC) President Pat Hickey two years ago when he was President of the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF) that he "could not support any project to create a EOC Games in the foreseeable future".

Subsequently, when faced with considerable pressure from nation federations wanting to be part of the Games, the Swiss senior International Olympic Committee (IOC) member contacted Hickey again to seek rowing involvement alongside the 17 sports – which include athletics and boxing – already announced.

Despite this latest setback, Oswald, who is currently running for the IOC Presidency, did say that the prospects are good for the inclusion of rowing at the 2019 European Games.

"The EOC indicated that even if rowing cannot be part of the Games in 2015, the sport will be welcome in the following edition," he explained.

"We would have been happy to be part of that first edition, but the decision taken jointly, by the EOC and FISA, could not be different and the rowers have accepted that decision without problem."

These words were echoed by Hickey, who told insidethegames: "They [FISA] very much want to commit to the next edition.

"It would have been great if they could have adapted the canoeing course but it was not possible."

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