31 Jan 2017

Svein Arne Hansen: Europe at its best will be on show in Glasgow and Berlin

Svein Arne Hansen, European Athletics President and co-chair of the 2018 European Championships Board, discusses his thoughts on the upcoming inaugural European Championships.

Image credit: European Athletics

"On my travels across the continent as President of European Athletics, I have found that the response to the inauguration of the first multi-sport European Championships has been overwhelmingly positive.

This has been the universal reaction, not just by the European Sports Federations who govern the seven sports that have come together and will stage their championships in August 2018, but from a wide variety of stakeholders: the European Athletics Member Federations, the municipal authorities in the two host cities, sponsors and the media; especially our broadcast partner, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU). And, slowly but surely, the sportsmen and women who anticipate competing in Berlin and Glasgow are learning more about what they will be a part of and are beginning to get excited.

At the European Championships Board meeting last October, the federations involved in the championships confirmed that they expected their top stars to be present in either Glasgow or Berlin.

Indeed, it is of utmost importance to the multiple broadcasters committed to the Championships – EBU, which holds the broadcast rights on all platforms, has said over 35 of its members have already signed up to show the first edition – that the best of European sport will be competing.

In the time remaining before the Championships, I hope everyone involved with the seven sports – aquatics, athletics, cycling, golf, gymnastics, rowing and triathlon – will tell the world that they will be a spectacular festival of top quality performances and the ultimate multi-sport event to promote their sports on the continent.

Svein Arne Hansen & Paulo Barelli, Co-Chairs of the 2018 European Championships Board

My own sport will stage the 2017 European Athletics Indoor Championships in Belgrade during the first weekend of March and I will be taking the opportunity at what will be the most significant European Athletics competition this year, indeed the most important one before the 2018 European Championships, to emphasis to our 51 Member Federations how crucial it is that they send their strongest possible teams to Berlin.

In addition, we will be emphasising to our federations how important their domestic events and the qualification period between now and the summer of 2018 will be in terms of promoting the Championships. This sustained narrative of the Road to Berlin is very important for us – as I am sure it is for all the sports on their Road to Glasgow.

Now that the Championships are starting to emerge on the horizon, I am sure many of our medal winners in Belgrade will be endorsing the European Championships and publically giving it their full support.

Already many of Europe’s athletics stars, especially from the host nation Germany which includes several Olympic and world champions, have confirmed that Berlin 2018 will be their focal point next year.

Let us not forget that there is a rich history and heritage of our European Athletics Championships – as is the case for most of the other sports – so it will not be as difficult to propagate information about its place within the multi-sport European Championships.

The situation might be different with some of the other sports but the innovative and exciting nature of the 2018 European Championships means that every sport is likely to have their top stars competing, and this can only help.

It should not be overlooked that there is also still a lot of work to be done to make the 2018 European Championships the success we all hope it will be but I think we can already look forward with great optimism to Berlin and Glasgow next year."

Svein Arne Hansen, European Athletics President and co-chair of the 2018 European Championships Board