It was claimed Kraków-Małopolska 2023 was the most "cost-efficient" European Games ©Getty Images

The European Games was a heavy focus of the second day of the European Olympic Committees (EOC) General Assembly here, where it was reported Kraków-Małopolska 2023 was the most "cost-efficient" of the three editions to date.

Reports were provided by EOC Coordination Commission chair Hasan Arat and Kraków-Małopolska 2023 President Marcin Nowak, alongside Polish Minister of Sports and Tourism Kamil Bortniczuk.

The Games used a regional model for the first time, with venues dispersed across 13 towns and cities.

Around 6,500 athletes from 48 European countries excluding Russia and Belarus took part, as well as an EOC Refugee Team for the first time.

Preparations for the Games were hampered by the COVID-19 pandemic and Poland's support for the refugee relief effort from the war in neighbouring Ukraine, with the Host City Contract only finalised in May last year.

However, Arat declared Kraków-Małopolska 2023 a successful third edition of the event.

"Everyone played their part in ensuring the successful delivery of the Kraków-Małopolska 2023 and it is worth remembering that the Games were delivered despite a limited time to prepare following the COVID-19 pandemic," the Turkish official said.

"They were successful despite the modest resources available.

"Deloitte’s report into the Games shows that the 2023 edition were more cost-efficient than other similarly sized events, including both previous editions of the European Games.

"They showed us that anything is possible with enormous reserves of goodwill, stakeholders who are willing to go beyond their duties and a lot of hard work.

"The Games were remarkable not only for how much went right, but how little went wrong. 

"While we were prepared for any crises that evolved, Poland must be proud that they ran an event with no significant issues.

"Of course, we also learned great lessons for future editions during our time in Poland and we must always strive for improvement."

EOC Coordination Commission chair Hasan Arat, left, said
EOC Coordination Commission chair Hasan Arat, left, said "Poland must be proud that they ran an event with no significant issues" ©EOC

Nowak admitted the regional model brought challenges in organising the Games, but described the event as "extremely successful".

Crowd figures were mixed across venues at the European Games, most notably at athletics where the 55,000-capacity Stadion Śląski in Chorzów was sparsely filled.

The Organising Committee President revealed more than 200,000 tickets were sold across the European Games, and 171,031 people attended events.

Nowak claimed this was a "great step" for the next European Games.

EOC President Spyros Capralos was presented with honorary citizenship of the Małopolska region by Marshal Witold Kozłowski, following on from the same award to Arat last week.

The EOC collectively was presented with the region's Polonia Minor.

An assessment report of the European Games was provided by The Olympic Partner programme member Deloitte, which found 94 per cent of National Olympic Committees (NOCs) and International Federations surveyed provided positive feedback.

It provided five considerations for future editions of the Games - understanding trade-offs, enhanced use of data, developing commercial assets and a communications plan, maximising ticket distribution and sponsorship and defining roles early across the Organising Committee and host cities.

Four panel discussions then took place to assess Kraków-Małopolska 2023 and discuss ideas for future editions of the European Games.

These were themed around athletes' experience, communication and media, NOC experience and European Federations' experience.

There were 29 sports at Kraków-Małopolska 2023, but suggestions for future editions raised included providing a more concrete programme further in advance of the Games.

Association of Summer Olympic International Federations President Francesco Ricci Bitti suggested the EOC should prioritise choosing appropriate dates to ensure the Games fits in a crowded calendar, creating a manageably-sized event and further working on the concept to continue the blend of traditional and newer sports.

European Athletics President Dobromir Karamarinov expressed his commitment to the sport featuring in the team format again at the next edition, and believes it could sell out if the Games is awarded to Istanbul.

Alongside the EOC General Assembly, the Turkish city's Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu has expressed Istanbul's interest in the 2027 European Games and the 2036 Olympics and Paralympics.