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Istanbul confirmed host of 2027 European Games as EOC looks ahead to potential 2031 sites

“We are delighted to have received support from the entire European Olympic family to stage the next European Games in Istanbul" - EOC President Spyros Capralos said.

Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu speaks at European Olympic Committees (EOC) 53rd General Assembly in Bucharest, Romania (EOC Photo)
Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu speaks at European Olympic Committees (EOC) 53rd General Assembly in Bucharest, Romania (EOC Photo)

Following a presentation, Istanbul has been confirmed host of the 2027 European Games at the European Olympic Committees’ (EOC) 53rd General Assembly in Bucharest, Romania.

EOC members voted to ratify the proposal by the organization’s executives that last month led to the signing of a memorandum of understanding by EOC President Spyros Capralos, Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu and Turkish Olympic Committee Vice President Kazım Âli Kiremitçioğlu.

Turkish officials plan to organize the Games following a model utilized by Kraków and Małopolska in Poland to stage the 2023 edition, using only existing venues to ensure the event will be cost-efficient and sustainable. With only three years to prepare, this method is even more critical for Istanbul.

The success of those 2023 Games created a financial legacy that enabled a €3 million (USD $3.2 million) investment in European National Olympic Committees to benefit athletes. A recent study by Deloitte revealed the 4th edition in Kraków-Małopolska was the most cost-effective edition of the Games that were previously held in 2015 in Baku, Azerbaijan and 2019 in Minsk, Belarus.

“We are delighted to have received support from the entire European Olympic family to stage the next European Games in Istanbul,” Capralos said.

“With the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality and the Turkish NOC, the EOC has found the perfect partners to deliver a European Games which captivates the host city, host country, Europe and indeed the world.”

On X (formerly Twitter), İmamoğlu explained “This morning, we explained our strategy and preparations for the Istanbul 2027 European Games at the European Olympic Committee General Assembly. We were very happy on behalf of Istanbul that the Olympic committee delegates followed us with excitement and approved our presentation.”

“I shared our belief that Istanbul, at the crossroads of East and West, embodies the Olympic spirit, uniting cultures through sports.

“Our candidacy was met with a unanimous standing ovation.”

İmamoğlu has made it known that Türkiye intends to bid for the 2036 Olympic Games and the European Games will serve as a stepping stone to achieve this goal. While there is no set timetable, International Olympic Committee (IOC) officials have said that they intend to elect the next Olympics host no earlier than “2026 or 2027” and the number of interested applicants is currently in the “double-digits.”

He wrote on X “We also discussed Istanbul’s bid for the 2036 Olympic and Paralympic Games with IOC President Thomas Bach. Istanbul, the world’s most stunning city, is ready to embrace the Olympic spirit in 2036.”

Looking ahead, the EOC is confident it will find a suitable host for 2031.

“Already, we are being asked for copies of Deloitte’s report into Krakow-Malopolska by a number of large cities interested in potentially hosting the 2031 edition, showcasing the growing interest in our Games,” Capralos said.

The EOC also confirmed Friday that Brasov, Romania will host the Winter European Youth Olympic Festival (EYOF) and Lignano Sabbiadoro, Italy will host the Summer EYOF in 2027.

A senior producer and award-winning journalist covering Olympic bid business as founder of GamesBids.com as well as providing freelance support for print and Web publications around the world. Robert Livingstone is a member of the Olympic Journalists Association and the International Society of Olympic Historians.

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