By David Owen at the Palace Hotel in Lausanne
An unnamed seventh candidate has expressed interest in hosting the second European Games in 2019, insidethegames understands.
With fewer than 150 days to go before the inaugural 2015 event in Baku, Azerbaijan, the European Olympic Committees (EOC) now has to decide from among a strong field of cities drawn from all parts of the continent for the 2019 Games.
Its choice is expected to be announced at an Extraordinary General Assembly at Belek in Turkey next May, or just possibly before.
It emerged last month that The Netherlands was set to give the green light to plans to bid, with at least two cities - Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague look to be the strongest possibilities - expected to submit a joint proposal.
While it is not intended to make the full list public, Minsk has also been mentioned previously as a potential candidate, while Kazan, site of this year's World Aquatics Championships, is also thought to be interested.
Rumours are now circulating that the football-mad English port city of Liverpool, in the country's north-west, is also among the seven, likewise a Turkish candidate.
A further expression of interest is thought to have been received from a Central European city, possibly Prague.
Under procedures set out last year, the present shortlist will be narrowed down to a single proposed host city by the EOC Executive Committee following negotiations during the first quarter.
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.
The host city will then formally be chosen, probably at the May Extraordinary General Assembly.
The inaugural Games in June in Baku will comprise 17 days of competition featuring more than 6,000 athletes hailing from the 50 EOC member countries.
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