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Second European Games to be held in the Netherlands in 2019
The European Olympic Committee will Saturday nominate the Netherlands to host the 2019 European Games. The first games are to be held next month, amid growing criticism over the country’s poor human rights record.
The EOC will hold a special assembly in Turkey on Saturday to hear final proposals from Dutch Olympic officials and give approval.
Amsterdam, The Hague and Eindhoven are expected to be the centerpiece of the bid, with Rotterdam and Utrecht having withdrawn because of the cost.
The EOC said discussions were still ongoing with the Dutch authorities.
“While the EOC has identified our preferred hosts for 2019 we will continue to have conversations in parallel with other national Olympic committees who have expressed an interest in bringing a European Games to their country," said Pat Hickey, the president of the EOC.
European officials had said six candidates were interested in hosting the 2019 Games. But the Dutch bid is the only serious one remaining.
The first ever European Games will be held in June in Azerbaijan, but rights groups are becoming more virulent in denouncing the lack of freedom in the country.
According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, it is the sixth most censored country in the world and activists there have recently denounced a crackdown on civil liberties.
This is partly why the EOC which is trying to establish the games as a major international event has been trying to find its host for 2019 quickly.
The Games will also have to face competition from sports, including athletics, cycling and swimming, which plan to hold a European Sports Championships in Glasgow and Berlin.