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Do we need a European Games?

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Do we need a European Games? Empty Do we need a European Games?

Post by Enforcer Thu 14 Apr 2011, 9:37 pm

Other continents have their own multi-sport Games, so why shouldn't Europe? That's the argument put forward by those backing plans for a European Games.

It's an interesting discussion, and I'm hoping that you'll take the chance to give me your views here.

Deloitte are currently carrying out a feasibility study.

They've been told to examine all options. First they'll need to show if a European Games are financially viable. If that test is passed then the second question to be answered is should this become an extra event in the calendar, or should all the different sports' European Championships be merged into this new event?

It's hard to see how there could be room in the calendar for an extra event. Swimming and athletics are already planning to hold their own championships every two years.

If there's no space for anything else then the only way that a European Games could happen would be by getting rid of the existing events and using the new Games as a replacement.

Scrapping existing events raises the issue of compensation. The governing bodies of athletics, swimming, gymnastics etc would only agree to give up their current competitions if they were reimbursed for loss of sponsorship and television revenue.

The feasibility study will need to calculate how much revenue a European Games would generate, and determine if that would be enough to pay off all the individual sports.

Patrick Hickey, who's the man behind the proposals, is convinced that a European Games would raise more money than all the other events combined. He describes the initial response from sponsors as "colossal".

Hickey's argument is that European sportsmen and women would benefit more from appearing together in a multi-sport event than they currently gain from their own individual championships.

He cites the general decline in recent performances by European nations at Olympic Games (Team GB is a notable exception), and claims that this is partly because they're missing out on the experience gained by competitors from other continents at events like the Pan American Games and Asian Games.

British athletes already have the Commonwealth Games, so in many ways this is less of an issue for them than other Europeans, but there does still seem to be plenty of support for the proposals amongst British team members.

Louis Smith, the Olympic bronze medal winning gymnast, told the BBC: "I'd definitely like to take part in something like that. The more competitions I can get in, the more major events before an Olympics to improve me, the better. It's nice to have competitions at a big scale, so I look forward to something like that."

Whatever the conclusions of the Deloitte report, there's plenty of politics which will need to be played out before a vote can be taken in November when the General Assembly of European Olympic Committees gathers in Sochi.

The British Olympic Association (BOA) will support the proposals. That's no surprise. A European Games would give the BOA an additional major event, beyond the Olympics, when it would have control over, and they would be able to market Britain's best athletes.

But the European sports will be far harder to convince.

If you'd been running an event for decades which appeared to be working just as you wanted, then would you really be happy to give it to somebody else to organise under a multi-sport umbrella?

In the end, though, a European Games could never take place without public support, so here's your chance to let us know what you think.

James Pearce - http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/jamespearce/2011/04/do_we_need_european_games.html

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