Viacheslav Fetisov, Russia's Minister of Sport between 2002 and 2008, who played a prominent role in Sochi's successful bid for the 2014 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games, has praised the preparations for the Baku 2015 European Games after a visit to the headquarters.
The 56-year-old legendary ice hockey player, and two-time Olympic champion, captained and then coached his country during a stellar sports career and was also one of the first European players to play in the United States' National Hockey League.
"I have been extremely impressed with the Baku 2015 project and the team driving it," said Fetisov, who also won seven world championships between 1978 and 1990.
"Today, I've seen all the signs that these will be a great Games.
"Athletes need the same things irrespective of their sport to ensure that they can focus on doing what they do best.
"From the accommodation, to the training complexes and the Games' venues, it is clear that Baku 2015 have made athletes' needs and welfare a priority factor in all of its planning.
"Team Russia's athletes can expect a warm welcome and the perfect conditions to hit peak performance when they arrive here in June 2015."
Simon Clegg, chief operating officer of Baku 2015, said: "It has been a pleasure to introduce Mr Fetisov to Baku 2015.
"His stamp of approval is particularly pleasing given his role as Russia's former Minister of Sport and his involvement in the successful Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games.
"With just 256 days to go to the Opening Ceremony, the excitement is noticeably rising across the city and I have no doubt Baku 2015 will be a true festival of sport for Azerbaijan and for the whole of Europe."
The inaugural European Games are due to take place from June 12 to 28.
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