By Duncan Mackay

European Olympic Committees President Patrick Hickey claims he has no fear over the European Sports Championships ©Baku 2015Patrick Hickey has dismissed fears that the newly-launched European Sports Championship, to be co-hosted by Glasgow and Berlin in 2018, is a threat to the European Games. 

The event, announced earlier today, sees the European Championships of five sports come under one banner with the aim of creating a strong new brand on the world stage to grow their television audiences and sponsorship opportunities.

It is seen as a rival to the European Games, which will be held for the first time in Baku this June, with the second edition due to take place in 2019. 

But Hickey, President of the European Olympic Committees (EOC), does not fear the new event poses any threat, he claims. 

"As President of the EOC, I will always welcome events which support the development of European sport and help European athletes reach their full potential," he told insidethegames

"But this event is a completely different initiative to the European Games, with fewer sports, fewer athletes and in a different year.

"Thanks to the Olympic Games qualification opportunities and the unique multi-sport Games experience on offer at the European Games, we will continue to attract the continent's top athletes, and with top athletes will come the commercial and broadcast partners to reach our audiences in Europe and beyond."

The European Sports Championship will include athletics, cycling, rowing, swimming and triathlon. 

Athletics and swimming will not send its top competitors to Baku 2015, while rowing will not be represented at all after a late bid to be included failed due to the lack of suitable venue. 

Cycling, meanwhile, will not include track venues in Baku because there is no velodrome in Azerbaijan capital. 

EOC President Patrick Hickey is optimistic that the continent's top athletes will compete at the 2019 European Games ©Getty ImagesEOC President Patrick Hickey is optimistic that the continent's top athletes will compete at the 2019 European Games ©Getty Images

But Hickey remains optimistic that athletics and swimming will send its top names to the European Games in 2019, which is due to be awarded to a city in May.  

"The EOC was originally aiming for 12 sports at the European Games; at Baku 2015, we are already up to 20 with 12 of the 16 Olympic sports offering Olympic qualification," Hickey told insidethegames

"The EOC will be in dialogue with the European cycling, swimming and athletics Federations to ensure the participation of top-quality athletes for 2019.  

"We had strong expressions of interest in hosting the 2019 edition from six cities, and we are close to finalising the deal with the next hosts.

"And Baku 2015 will be broadcast to 55 countries globally.

"For me, that already makes the European Games an established brand and an event at the pinnacle of European sport, and it is only going to get better from here."

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