Baku: After the forthcoming European Games in Baku, people across the world will acknowledge that Azerbaijan, once part of former USSR is now in Europe. They
have been taking multi-billion dollar efforts to host the first European Games. As far as Azerbaijan is concerned, their preparations are equivalent to an official Olympic franchise. Azerbaijan’s government wants to put the country on the global sports map.
In the forthcoming game, about 6,000 European athletes are expected to compete in 20 sports categories at newly-built venues in the capital Baku. The official cost of the grand sports event stands at $1.2bn (£700m).
But the real figure may be much higher than the estimated amount. The Olympic Stadium alone cost more than $ 600 million (£391 million).
Then there are the newly built Aquatic and Shooting Centers, the National Gymnastics arena, the Athletes village and a half dozen temporary venues for triathlon, basketball and other sports.
Above all, Azerbaijan has to cover travel and accommodation costs for all the athletes. To complete the party atmosphere, the transportation ministry announced that participants would enjoy free rides in hundreds of London cabs bought especially for the Games.
But the European Games are being held against the backdrop of oil price fall and the decrease in value of the national currency by a third. Some are wondering whether Azerbaijan can afford it.
Arastun Orujli, the head of the Baku-based East-West research center said that all those lavish expenses were really irritating people in the country, as the majority of Azeris were finding it hard to make ends meet.
From the economic point of view the Games are appeared to be totally unprofitable.
But For the government the subject of the European Games has the highest priority. The concept is a continental multi-sport event along the lines of an Olympic or Commonwealth Games.
The European Games were devised by the European Olympic Committee and launched at their General Assembly in Rome in December 2012.
Asia has already been holding its equivalent games every four years since 1951. In that year itself, the Pan-American Games were also started in similar fashion.
Video on venues of European games