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Netherlands signs off on 2019 European Games bid

The Dutch Olympic Committee (NOC*NSF) has voted in favour of launching a nationwide bid for the 2019 edition of the European Games multi-sport event.

Under the NOC*NSF’s plan, the Games will be accommodated in existing sports venues across the Netherlands, although Utrecht and Rotterdam said they would not take part in the event ahead of Tuesday evening’s vote.

The approval from a large majority of members followed an in-depth feasibility report from the NOC*NSF to gauge support for the bid, which requires financial backing from the Dutch government, sponsorship and funding from the private sector. The NOC*NSF has outlined a maximum budget of €125m ($134.5m) for the bid and has stressed that a dedicated athletes’ village will not be needed, while expensive opening and closing ceremonies will not be included.

The NOC*NSF said the 2019 European Games offers an opportunity to the Netherlands to present itself as a “prime example” of how to organise a “next level” multi-sport event as an early adopter of the Agenda 2020 reform efforts being driven by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

André Bolhuis, chairman of the NOC*NSF, said: “Through collaboration between sport, business and all the different governments, the organisation of these Games is a unique public-private project which perhaps could serve as an example for many other sectors. The European Games in the Netherlands is a major event that will give a boost to the role of sport in the country. And that is also sorely needed.”

Regarding question marks over the financial commitment needed to stage such an event, he added: “I've always been taught that you must dare to invest in times of crisis.”

With Baku due to host the inaugural edition of the European Games from June 12-28, the European Olympic Committees (EOC) is currently undertaking the process to determine the host for the second event in 2019. The decision over the host nation will be made on May 16.