The 2015 European Games, also known as Baku 2015 or Baku 2015 European Games, will be the inaugural edition of the European Games, an international multi-sport event for athletes representing the National Olympic Committees (NOCs) of Europe. It will be held in Baku, Azerbaijan, from 12 to 28 June 2015, and will feature over 6,000 athletes from 50 NOCs competing in 20 sports.
The Organising Committee responsible for the inaugural European Games in Baku was established by decree of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan. The Committee is chaired by the First Lady of Azerbaijan Mehriban Aliyeva., member of the Executive Committee of the National Olympic Committee of the Republic of Azerbaijan and UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador. Baku 2015 European Games Operations Committee (BEGOC) was established under the direction of the Chairperson of the Organising Committee.
Logo and mascots
The official logo for the Baku 2015 European Games was unveiled on 16 June 2014. Designed by Adem Yunusov, it was inspired by country’s ancient and contemporary culture. The logo includes flame, water, the mythical Simurgh bird, a Azerbaijani carpet and a pomegranate as one of the symbols of Azerbaijani profusion. The pomegranate, called Nar, is one of two mascots for the Games, along with a gazelle named Jeyran. The pair are intended to represent the spirit of Azerbaijan and help excite the youth for the event.
Azerbaijani organisers of European Games in Baku
The Azerbaijani organisers of the first European Games in Baku, under fire from campaigners over claims they are using the event to gloss over human rights violations, have confirmed they are footing the bill for athletes from all 50 competing countries.
In June, more than 6,000 athletes will compete in 20 sports at the inaugural Games, organised by the European Olympic Committee and staged in the Azerbaijani capital.
After it emerged that the Baku organising committee was paying the bill for the entire British team of 160, on Thursday it issued a joint statement with the EOC confirming it was covering the accommodation and travel of all competing athletes.
There are around 100 political prisoners held in Azerbaijan and many more journalists, campaigners and activists have been subject to harassment and travel bans.
“Over the last year, Azerbaijan has imprisoned dozens of journalists, human rights advocates, bloggers, lawyers and academics who have criticised the regime,” said Amnesty International this week. “Ilham Alyev’s repressive petro-state has brazenly stepped up its harassment of journalists amidst international criticism.”
The EOC, which hopes Baku 2015 will establish a template for a new major event to rival other continental multi-sport fixtures such as the asian games, said the funding grants for competing athletes were an important part of the negotiations to stage the Games.