The European Olympic Committees (EOC) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality and the Turkish Olympic Committee (TOC).

The signing of the MoU by EOC President Spyros Capralos, Mayor of Istanbul Ekrem İmamoğlu and TOC Vice President Kazım Âli Kiremitçioğlu sets the groundwork for the Host City Contract.

This development stems from the EOC Executive Committee’s decision in March to designate Istanbul as the host for the fourth edition of the European Games. The MoU was signed last week and announced at a press conference attended by Insider Sport.

President Capralos commented: “Today’s MoU will enable the European Olympic Committees to move forward with the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality and Turkish Olympic Committee in delivering a special display of sport for all of Europe.

“Türkiye is a country dedicated to sport and it has a strong history of organising outstanding events, both historically and recently. When we began our discussions with the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality and the TOC last year, we knew we had partners we could trust to deliver a wonderful European Games. 

“The city is already set up to host Europe’s best athletes. The infrastructure is in place and there will be no new permanent venues built, which will make this a cost-efficient and sustainable Games, building on the model which worked in Poland last year.”

The Istanbul Games will continue the momentum from the 2023 European Games held in Kraków-Małopolska. The games in Turkey will feature Europe’s top athletes who will be competing for qualification to the 2028 Olympic Games in Los Angeles across various sports.

Mayor İmamoğlu said: “Together with the European Olympic Committees we embark on a long and exciting journey.

“We recognise that the 2027 European Games will be a milestone in both our city’s history and European sports history. With the European Games, we are committed to reshaping how our region and Europe engage with sports. 

“Istanbul serves as a grand and inspiring stage for athletes throughout Europe. In 2027, we will elevate this platform with the European Games, inspiring sports fans across the world. Istanbul 2027 will amplify the perception and influence of the European Games.”

At a roundtable on 16 May, President Capralos answered questions from the media. At the meeting Capralos mentioned the role of AI and how it may be used at the 2027 games.

He said: “AI is something that is new in our world and I think that there are many developments to come in sports, but also developments in other areas. Next month, we have our general assembly and we have a special section regarding AI in sports where we’re going to start discussing the innovations that AI can bring to sport.”

This was backed up earlier this year when the official worldwide AI platform partner of the Paris Olympics 2024Intel, announced it will introduce new, innovative AI experiences to improve fan engagement.

Given the games are three years away, the President responded ambiguously to many questions, especially with regards to sponsorship possibilities.

He stated that the games will provide Istanbul with a lot of commercial opportunities, enhancing local businesses. Capralos also said that the games will continue its focus on social media and television deals to elevate the exposure of the event.

He added: “We’ve seen from Athens 2004 that Greece had an increase in many areas of its activities, areas like tourism, commercial opportunities, new investments from abroad, and lots of new visitors coming.

“I think that the infrastructure that was built for the games helped in this respect. We are assured that something similar will happen to Istanbul.”

Infrastructure was also a big talking point, with the President explaining that the hosts are not required to build new arenas or develop facilities ahead of the games. However, the focus for Istanbul will be on “upgrading current venues” and ensuring that they serve the local population and elite athletes.

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