Minsk in running to host 2019 European Games

Minsk in Belarus has emerged as a leading contender to host the 2019 European Games multi-sport event.

The possibility of Belarus hosting the second edition of the Games will be discussed at the European Olympic Committees general assembly, which starts in Minsk today (Thursday) and will run until Saturday.

State news agency Belta quoted Belarusian National Olympic Committee vice-president Maxim Ryzhenkov as saying: “our European partners are very interested in the second European Games taking place in Belarus.”

He acknowledged that there would be financial pressures, with Belarus currently in recession.

"The main issue is the budget," Ryzhenkov said. "The second European Games demand the investment of significant sums. It's necessary to carefully consider and weigh up everything."

The 2019 European Games were originally scheduled to take place in the Netherlands, but the country pulled out last year due to financial concerns. According to reports, Russia has declined the opportunity to host the Games.

The inaugural European Games took place last year in Baku, Azerbaijan.