Russia will host the 2019 European Games providing they address the serious doping problems which has led to them being banned, it was announced here today.
The Games are expected to be shared between Sochi, host of last year's Winter Olympics and Paralympics, and Kazan, which staged the 2013 Summer Universiade.
They will follow the first-ever edition held in Baku earlier this year.
An official announcement had been due to be made by European Olympic Committees (EOC) President Patrick Hickey here today until the publication last week of the report from the World Anti-Doping Agency Independent Commission which found evidence of state-supported doping.
That led to the suspension of the All-Russia Athletics Federation by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), putting their participation at Rio 2016 in jeopardy.
The scandal appears only to have temporarily halted Russia, however, being chosen to host an event which it was claimed here today was watched by a total of 1.7 billion people in 145 countries during Baku 2015.
"Russia is still the EOC's preferred partner for hosting the 2019 European Games, that is providing the independent authorities can confirm Russia's ability to support an anti-doping programme that meets the highest international standards," Hickey told delegates, including International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach, attending the 44th EOC General Assembly here.
"The Games are four years away and there is real potential here to demonstrate Russia's new robust anti-doping system and clean sport culture through the 2019 European Games.
"I believe that Russia can lead from the front in the future."
The EOC have been seeking a country to host the event since The Netherlands, who had planned to hold the Games in several cities, including Amsterdam, had withdrawn on the eve of Baku 2015.
Alexander Zhukov, President of the Russian Olympic Committee, addressed the 50 National Olympic Committees present for the meeting and once again promised to solve the doping issue to ensure the country will host the event.
"The next European Games can become even more attractive," he told them.
"The key to this success will be to reach agreement with sports Federations so every sport is a qualifying competition for the Olympic Games [at Tokyo 2020]."
Later, Zhukov met with Bach to discuss again the crisis which has seriously damaged Russia's reputation within the Olympic Movement.
Zhukov advised Bach of a number of initiatives design to ensure the suspension of the ARAF is lifted as soon as possible and the Russian Anti-Doping Agency is deemed compliant by WADA.
This has included setting up an Interim Coordination Committee to investigate the allegations.
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