Baku, the capital city of Azerbaijan, has been awarded the rights to host the inaugural European Games in 2015.
The announcement was made in Rome on Saturday 8 December 2012 at the European Olympic Committees (EOC) General Assembly. It followed a vote by secret ballot that resulted in 84% in favour of Baku becoming the first Host City. 38 National Olympic Committees (NOCs) voted in favour, eight were against and there were two abstentions.
CSM Strategic has played a leading role in bringing these Games to Baku. It introduced the idea to the EOC’s advisors in March 2012 and since then has worked closely with both the EOC and Baku in helping to bring the concept to reality.
The company was retained by the Azerbaijan Ministry for Youth and Sport as Lead Advisors and worked on the following areas:
• Preparation of a detailed (86 page) Host City Plan (HCP) – The HCP describes how the inaugural event will be delivered across the City. This includes key event delivery considerations such as the sports programme, venue concept and operations, Games event services, programme management, Games readiness, commercial strategy and the Baku 2015 operational budget.
• Project managing the EOC Evaluation Visit on behalf of Baku – eight delegates from the EOC spent two enlightening days in Baku. CSM Strategic prepared the programme for the delegates and arranged all details of the visit including presentations and visits to nine of the proposed venues and some of the cultural highlights of Baku.
• Project managing Baku’s presentation to the EOC General Assembly in Rome including writing, rehearsing and producing materials for the final presentation to the EOC.
• Drafting the Host City Contract for the EOC and Baku – this contract was signed in Rome on 8 December by Patrick Hickey, President of the EOC and Azad Rahimov, Minister for Youth and Sport for Azerbaijan.
The European Games will feature up to 19 sports at the inaugural event in June 2015, including the two non-Olympic sports of Karate and Dancesport. Athletics, Swimming, Wrestling and Gymnastics are currently in discussion with the EOC’s advisors and letter of intent commitments are now in place from Archery, Badminton, Boxing, Fencing, Handball, Judo, Rugby Sevens, Shooting, Table Tennis, Taekwondo, Triathlon, Volleyball and Beach Volleyball.
CSM Strategic now look forward to working with the Baku 2015 Organising Committee (OC) on the planning, preparation and delivery of the Games in the two and a half year period through to June 2015. They will help coordinate a Lead Advisory Team to work alongside Directors within the OC in all of the key disciplines. This team is likely to include a number of senior staff from LOCOG and will feature some of the very best international talent in major event planning and delivery.
Azad Rahimov, Minister for Youth and Sport confirmed his delight at the confidence placed in Baku and reiterated his Government’s commitment to delivering what will be a very special inaugural Games in 2015.
EOC President Patrick Hickey says “I’m absolutely thrilled that so many years of slogging have now come to fruition. A baby has been born. Now we’ve got to nurture it, look after it and make sure that the Games are a great success.”
Peter Mann, Partner of CSM Strategic and lead advisor to Baku in Rome says “We are absolutely delighted that Baku has secured this prize. It is testimony to the commitment and enthusiasm shown by Azerbaijan, from the President, his Government, Azad Rahimov, the Minister for Youth and Sport and from the AzNOC, the Azerbaijan National Olympic Committee. It has been a privilege for us to guide Baku on this exciting journey and play our part in helping to bring this exciting new major sporting event to the city and the country. A country where 50% of the population is under 30 years of age and one that is so keen to embrace new sports. The Host City Plan for Baku 2015 reflects the ambition and aspiration that Baku has and it is very gratifying that the majority of NOCs (84%) voted for Baku in Rome. We now look forward to the challenges and opportunities in helping Baku deliver a truly memorable Games in 2015.”