By Duncan Mackay

Glasgow is to co-host the first European Sports Championship in 2018 ©Getty ImagesA new event bringing together the European Championships of several sports is to be jointly hosted by Glasgow and Berlin in 2018, it was announced today.

The continental governing bodies of athletics, cycling, rowing, swimming and triathlon have come together to stage the first European Sports Championship with the aim of creating a strong new brand on the world stage to grow their television audiences and sponsorship opportunities.

The event appears to be an early challenger to the fledgling European Games, due to take place for the first time in Baku this year.

Glasgow had been mooted as a potential bidder for the second edition of the European Games in 2019 but have instead joined forces with the German capital to launch this new event.

Glasgow will host cycling, rowing, swimming and triathlon, while Berlin will stage athletics. 

It is expected that the Championship will be held over a two-week period at the end of July and beginning of August or the first two weeks of August. 

It is significant that European Athletics and the European Swimming League (LEN) are involved in the event.

Athletics at Baku 2015 will consist only of European Athletics Team Championships 3rd League featuring little-known names after European Athletics refused to change their calendar to accommodate the new event. 

Swimming, meanwhile, in Azerbaijan's capital will feature only junior swimmers after LEN were reluctant to get involved.

World Rowing were initially one of the biggest opponents to taking part in the European Games only to later change their mind. 

But a suitable venue to host the sport could not be found in Azerbaijan.

There will be no track cycling at Baku 2015 as Azerbaijan does not have a velodrome. 

Tollcross, which staged swimming during last year's Commonwealth Games, will be one of the venues for first European Sports Championship in 2018 ©Getty Images
Tollcross, which staged swimming during last year's Commonwealth Games, will be one of the venues for first European Sports Championship in 2018 ©Getty Images

It is claimed that nearly 3,000 athletes will compete in the events in Scotland and attract a television audience of 850 million thanks to a deal with the European Broadcasting Union, which has 72 members in 56 countries, including the BBC in Britain. 

With more than 2,700 hours of programming across some of Europe's biggest free-to-air broadcasters planned, the event will enjoy massive exposure across the continent, it is claimed.

Scotland's biggest city will be host city to four sports, including cycling and swimming, four years after it staged the Commonwealth Games.

The athletics competition will be held in the German capital and it is hoped golf will be included in the event and be based at Gleneagles, which staged last year's Ryder Cup.

Swimming, involving nearly 900 athletes, will be staged at three venues with the main event at Tollcross International Swimming Centre.

The diving and synchronised swimming will be held at the Commonwealth Pool in Edinburgh and the open water swimming competition at Loch Lomond.

The four cycling competitions, track, road race, mountain biking and BMX, will attract around 760 athletes to the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome, the Cathkin Braes Mountain Bike Trails, the streets of Glasgow and a new BMX track to be built in the city.

It will be the first time all four cycling championships have been staged together.

Rowing and triathlon will see around 760 athletes compete at Strathclyde Country Park in North Lanarkshire.

Berlin will host the athletics at their iconic Olympic Stadium, an event they had been awarded in 2013.

The Olympic Stadium in Berlin will host the 2018 European Athletics Championships as part of a co-hosting agreement with Glasgow ©Getty ImagesThe Olympic Stadium in Berlin will host the 2018 European Athletics Championships as part of a co-hosting agreement with Glasgow ©Getty Images

An Opening Ceremony will take place in George Square in Glasgow where there will be a live celebration zone throughout the Championships.

Sauchiehall Street and the Merchant City Festival will be live zones with the focus for all the activities being on the city centre.

The city will also stage a European Cultural Festival in collaboration with arts venues across the city.

"The European Sports Championships will be another chance for Scotland to prove it's the perfect stage for top class events," said Scotland's Sports Minister Jamie Hepburn.

"Not only will this be a fantastic opportunity for Scottish sports fans to see some of Europe's top athletes competing in our world-class venues, it will also be attract visitors from around the continent, providing a great boost to the economy."

The event, jointly funded by the Government and Glasgow City Council, will boost the city's economy by more than £100 million ($159 million/€127.5 million), it is claimed.

"I am delighted that Glasgow has been chosen by such prestigious sporting bodies to stage this new and exciting event in partnership with our friends in Berlin," said Glasgow City Council Leader Gordon Matheson.

"We have been chosen because of our excellence and innovation and our proven ability to stage world-class events.

"Not to mention of course our citizens' world-famous warm welcome, so superbly demonstrated during the Commonwealth Games, described as the best ever staged."

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