Brussels, 24.11.2104: The EHF President, Marijke Fleuren and the Director General, Angus Kirkland recently attended the 43rd General Assembly of the European Olympic Committee in Baku, Azerbaijan.

After enjoying a welcome reception on arrival at the Baku Business Centre the formal business commenced the next morning. The Assembly was opened by the President of Azerbaijan, President Aliyev and then the Assembly was addressed by IOC President Thomas Bach and EOC President Patrick Hickey.

After the business of the General Assembly there was a tour of the various venues and sites of the forthcoming European Games being staged for the first time in Baku in June 2015. Some of the venues are under construction but all are on schedule for the Games. The tour ended at the Gymnastic Arena where the National Azerbaijan Gymnastic team gave an entertaining demonstration. Baku is a beautiful city going through a great transformation. The European Games is part of that and it will leave a wonderful sporting legacy for the people of Azerbaijan.

Following the tour the Organising committee of the European Games gave a comprehensive and informative presentation.
This was followed by presentations on the Rio Games 2016 and the Winter Games in Pyeonchang 2018.

In the evening there was a Gala Dinner at the amazing Heydar Aliyev Centre that was attended by President Aliyev, after whom the Centre is named.

The next day reports were received by the various EOC Commissions. Of particular note, for our dual gender sport, was the Commission on Gender Equality in Sport and the desire to improve the balance across all areas of Sport.

There then followed reports on Nanjing YOG 2014, Lillehammer Winter YOG 2016, the European Youth Olympic Festivals 2015 and the bids for the European Youth Olympic Festivals 2019. The Winter edition in 2019 will be held in Erzurum, Turkey and the Summer edition Minsk, Belarus.

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(Marijke is pictured with Thomas Bach, IOC President)

A presentation was then received for the Games of the Small States of Europe. The meeting closed with Prague being selected for the 2015 General Assembly and the endorsement by the Assembly of the IOC Agenda 2020 that had been unveiled earlier in the week.

Marijke said of the EOC General Assembly and ancillary meetings “I am very grateful to Mr. Pat Hickey, (President of the EOC and IOC Board member) and the EOC for extending an invitation to us to attend the EOC GA in Baku. It was a great chance to meet with many Presidents of NOCs in Europe, to discuss with them the hockey values and to explain how we are developing hockey in their countries, allowing their youth to aspire to the Olympic dream. Not only could I reacquaint myself with Presidents that I had met before but I met new Presidents and in particular the President of the NOC of Kosovo, who were formally accepted at the meeting and are now looking to become a member of the EHF and FIH. I also had the possibility to show my respect to Thomas Bach about the Agenda 2020 and to wish him luck with the realisation of the recommendations during the IOC meetings in Monaco. These formal meetings are vital as they afford us the opportunity to make sure that hockey remains relevant and on the sporting agenda for the whole of Europe and the world.”

Photographs: (main) Marijke with Pat Hickey, President EOC and IOC Board Member