Exclusive: Clause at Centre of European Championships Contract Row is “Superseded”
A controversial contract proposal to restrict how sports on the inaugural European Championships program are able to participate at other multi-sport events has been “superseded”, insidethegames has been told after more criticism from rival bodies.
This follows the European Olympic Committees (EOC) fiercely criticizing an alleged clause in the contract for the new event – due to be co-hosted in Glasgow and Berlin – which supposedly forbids Federations competing in another multi-sport continental event within the next year.
If true, this would have seemingly barred the seven participating sports from competing in the EOC-organized 2019 European Games and both summer and winter editions of the European Youth Olympic Festival.
“The EOC has always sought to represent the best interests of our partners, the European Federations, and has made repeated requests for ESCM [European Sports Championship Management] to drop the clause…as it is in breach of the Olympic Charter, Olympic Agenda 2020 and EU Competition Law,” the body said in a statement today.
“However it appears that this clause still remains in a number of the ESCM proposed contracts.”
Two alleged clauses in the contracts signed between the ESCM and participating sports were printed in the EOC statement.
“Our position is more than just protecting the integrity of EOC properties such as the European Games and the European Youth Olympic Festival,” they added.
“Our stance is taken to ensure that new commercial entities cannot be allowed to erode the longstanding right of Olympic Movement stakeholders to stage their own established events.”
But ESCM have repeatedly disputed having inserted the controversial clause, with director Jon Ridgeon claiming last month that they “wouldn’t dream of blocking any Federation from competing at another multi-sports event”.
In a statement today issued by the European Championships Board, they claimed the EOC had only seen an incomplete draft version of the contract and that this has now been “superseded” by another version.
“The European Championships Board informed President Hickey last week that there is no issue of restriction of trade against the European Sports Federations,” they told insidethegames.
“The clause that President Hickey has referred to is in a confidential draft document that has been superseded.
“There is no clause in any existing agreement and no intention to include such a clause in any future agreement that has the effect of preventing any European Federation from participating in any other multi-sport event.”
Athletics is scheduled for the German capital at the 2018 European Championships, while aquatics, cycling, golf, gymnastics, rowing and triathlon action will all take place in the Scottish city.
The European Championship Board insist there is no clause restricting participation at other events in any circumstance, or affecting any Federation.
A letter was sent last week by European Athletics President Svein-Arne Hansen and his European Swimming Federation counterpart Paolo Barelli aiming to clear-up any “misunderstandings”.
But the EOC do not consider this clear enough and maintain the matter is not closed.
“The EOC has not received an unequivocal guarantee from ESCM that the restrictive clause in question had been withdrawn from their proposed contracts for the European Federations,” they told insidethegames in a further statement this evening.
“Therefore we welcome the statement from the European Championship Board but also look forward to receiving an official confirmation from them of the complete withdrawal of the clause, and any similar or related clauses, at the earliest opportunity.
“This will then bring the matter to a close.”
The issue is expected to be discussed at the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Executive Board meeting, starting tomorrow in Lausanne.
It comes as a process continues to select a host for the 2019 European Games following last year’s inaugural edition in Baku, with Russia considered the “preferred bidder”.
Cycling, gymnastics and triathlon featured at Baku 2015 and are expected to be on the programme in 2019.
Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko said earlier this month that they “never sent” an application and are “absolutely busy” until 2020, however, when asked on his country’s hosting.
This all marks the latest dispute between sporting events which are “official” and supposedly unsanctioned rivals after the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) announced its “full support” of FIBA Europe’s decision to ban teams from international competition for backing the EuroLeague, currently the continent’s premier club competition.
Hickey claimed last month that this decision was needed to protect the integrity of sport.
By Nick Butler
Republished with permission from insidethegames.biz