EOC has held its first Executive Committee meeting of its 50th year ©EOC

European Olympic Committees (EOC) has held its first Executive Committee meeting of the organisation’s 50th year, with the coronavirus pandemic and General Assembly plans among the key topics.

The virtual meeting was led by EOC Acting President Niels Nygaard.

The worsening situation regarding the coronavirus pandemic was highlighted during the meeting, which presents potential obstacles for the rescheduled Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and the EOC General Assembly.

The latter is scheduled to take place in Athens on April 16 and 17.

Nygaard claimed he was quite confident that the coronavirus situation will improve in the coming months, allowing for the Olympic Games to begin in Tokyo in July.

"We have seen a worsening of the situation in many European countries and elsewhere around the world, which has meant even more travel restrictions,” Nygaard said.

"On the positive side, now that we have vaccines, hopefully in our countries in the coming weeks and months more and more people will get vaccinated and we will have a situation later in spring and in summer where it will be much more possible to travel.

"I am quite confident that when we reach July we will be in a better situation and we will be able to have the Olympic Games."

The EOC Executive Committee agreed its next meeting will be split into two parts.

One part will address concerns about Tokyo 2020, with the aim of providing the strongest possible assistance and information to European National Olympic Committees (NOC) and their delegations.

The second part will focus on preparations for the General Assembly.

The EOC will discuss the pandemic's impact on Tokyo 2020 at their next Executive Committee meeting ©Getty Images
The EOC will discuss the pandemic's impact on Tokyo 2020 at their next Executive Committee meeting ©Getty Images

The General Assembly will see the EOC hold Presidential elections, with Nygaard and Greece’s Spyros Capralos seeking to secure the position.

Nygaard has led the organisation on a temporary basis since the death of Janez Kocijančič last June.

EOC secretary general Raffaele Pagnozzi also outlined recent agreements signed with the governing bodies of beach handball, canoe, karate, modern pentathlon and taekwondo.

The sports are the first five events confirmed for the 2023 European Games in Krakow and Malopolska.

"We are delighted that we already have a strong mix of traditional Olympic sports and new sports for the third edition of the European Games," Pagnozzi said.

"We are also in ongoing dialogue with 15 other European Federations and expect to be making more announcements in the coming weeks."

Hasan Arat, chair of the Coordination Commission for Krakow Malopolska 2023, praised the collaboration of the Polish Olympic Committee despite meetings having to be held virtually during the pandemic.

Updates were also provided by EOC Executive Committee member Djordje Visacki on the development of Strategic Agenda 2030.

Pagnozzi added that final negotiations are underway with the International Testing Agency to take over testing for the winter and summer editions of the European Youth Olympic Festivals (EYOFs) and the European Games.

The next EYOF is due to take place in December, with Vuokatti 2021 having had to postpone its event from February.

Organisers said the full sports programme will be retained for their event, should snow conditions allow.