By Duncan Mackay at the Fairmont Hotel in Baku

A timetable to choose a host city for the 2019 European Games was drawn up today by the European Olympic Committees Executive Committee ©EOCThe host city for the 2019 edition of the European Games will be announced at an Extraodinary General Assembly of the European Olympic Committees (EOC) next May, it was revealed here today.

It had originally been hoped to name a host city at the 43rd EOC General Assembly, which is due to start here tomorrow, but that timetable has now been pushed back by six months. 

A total of six cities have so far expressed an interest in hosting the Games, due to make its debut in Baku next year, it has been claimed. 

The current shortlist of six will be narrowed down to a single proposed host city by the EOC Executive Committee following negotiations during the first quarter of next year.

The list will not be made public but cities previously mentioned as potential candidates are Glasgow, Minsk and Rotterdam. 

Representatives of the proposed host city will then be invited to work alongside the 2019 European Games Working Group to develop a unique concept: tailor-made to the host's needs, capabilities and priorities, and ready to continue the evolution of the European Games product.

The Working Group will support the host city in defining the technical, operational, marketing and legacy requirements for the 2019 edition, covering the sports programme, transport and venues, and the allocation of licensing rights, EOC officials claim.

The host city is then due to be chosen at the Extraordinary General Assembly at Belek in Turkey in May.  

Patrick Hickey with First Lady 2
European Olympic Committees President Patrick Hickey and his wife Sylviane met the First Lady of Azerbaijan, Mehriban Aliyeva, chair of Baku 2015 ©President of Azerbaijan

"This new timeline will give us the time we need to assess properly which of the six cities is the best fit for the European Games," said EOC President Patrick Hickey following the Executive Committee meeting here today.

"The process will take slightly longer than we first anticipated, but having six cities on the table is a dilemma we are very happy to have.

"We have had to turn away 14 sports from the inaugural edition in Baku, and we are going to be turning away five top-class potential hosts for the second edition - clearly the European Olympic family has a huge amount of enthusiasm for a continental Games.

"The collaborative process between the proposed host city and the 2019 European Games Working Group was first approved by the EOC membership at our General Assembly in Valencia back in 2007 - it is really fundamental to the European Games philosophy.

"We do not want to put cities through a lengthy expensive process.

"We want to focus on flexibility, innovation, sustainability and value for hosts, athletes, fans and commercial partners."

IOC President Thomas Bach, in Baku to attend the 43rd European Olympic Committees General Assembly, held talks with the head of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev ©President of AzerbaijanIOC President Thomas Bach, in Baku to attend the 43rd European Olympic Committees General Assembly, held talks with the head of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev
©President of Azerbaijan

Earlier, Hickey had  accompanied the International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach at a meeting with the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev.

Aliyev, who is also President of the National Olympic Committee of Azerbaijan, is due to open the General Assembly here tomorrow, along with Hickey and Bach.

Honorary IOC President Jacques Rogge is also due to attend the Assembly, together with more than 300 delegates from 49 European National Olympic Committees.

They will be joined by a delegation from Kosovo, who are expected to become the 50th member of the EOC, providing their application to join the IOC is officially ratified next month.

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