Minsk will host the 2019 European Games after Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko confirmed they were prepared to step in here today.
As insidethegames reported yesterday he would, Lukashenko made the commitment following a meeting with Janez Kocijančič, the acting President of the European Olympic Committees (EOC), who has replaced Patrick Hickey following his arrest at at Rio 2016, leading to him being detained in Brazil.
The EOC have been searching for a host city since The Netherlands withdrew on the eve of Baku 2015 and then Russia dropped out of the running after the IOC warned they would not support events there following allegations of state-sponsored doping.
But now Belarus have come forward to ensure the event will be staged for a second time.
The decision to host it here, though, was not unanimous with Denmark and Norway voting against it, while five others abstained.
Morten Mølholm Hansen, chief executive of the National Olympic Committee and Sports Confederation of Denmark, claimed they had voted against Minsk holding the event because of fears that they did not know the financial consequences nor what the structure of the Games would be.
A total of 43 National Olympic Committees, however, supported awarding the 2019 European Games to Minsk, despite some privately fearing the event could again be overshadowed by fears over human rights.
Lukashenko has been criticised for human rights violations and persecution of non-governmental organisations, independent journalists, national minorities and opposition politicians.
He was denied a visa by Britain to attend the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
"Belarus is not a superpower, but we are paying a lot of attention to sport," Lukashenko told delegates at the opening of the 45th EOC General Assembly.
"I want our European organisation to be as good as the organisations of other continents, including the International Olympic Committee.
"In this regard I am a nationalist and a patriot.
"Therefore, you can count on Belarus.
"If you wish to hold any events in Belarus within the framework of this organization, we are ready to support our organisation at any moment and organize any events.
"We have made a historic decision, and will welcome European athletes here for our Olympics in 2019."
Preparations will now begin to establish a sports programme and work with officials in Belarus to provide more details.
Minsk was already due to the summer edition of the European Youth Olympic Festival in 2019.
It remains unclear whether they will still host that event or whether it will be allocated to a new venue.
"I am convinced that this country will be able to hold an excellent European Games," said Kocijančič.