The 2015 “European Games,” which will be a massive European multi-sport event in the year preceding the Olympic Games, will now officially include the aquatic disciplines, after the Ligue Europeenne de Natation officially signed a Memorandum of Understanding in Rome late last week.
The parties signed to include swimming, diving, synchronized swimming, and water polo as a part of the event, with the event hosts (in this case, Azerbaijan) agreeing to cover all travel and accommodation expenses of the participants.
This will be a huge relief to the event’s organizers, as it secures one of the continent’s most prominent “Olympic sports” for the event when there had been questions about the commitment.
With already the 2015 European Short Course Championships and the 2015 World Championships in long course on the schedule for that year, there was some question about whether LEN would buy in to the new European Games. This agreement finalizes a compromise first announced as in the works over the summer, which saw the European Games replacing the European Junior Championships in the years when it is held, which means that we should expect to see some of the top junior swimmers on the continent at the event.
The European Games in its first edition will be a bit of a unique mix. So far, among the more unique confirmed competitions will be a 3-on-3 basketball tournament and a beach soccer tournament.
The organizers are hoping that it will eventually grow into a larger event that includes its status as an Olympic qualification tournament, much like the Pan American Games are in the Western Hemisphere (though in swimming, this is unlikely).