Clegg to head inaugural European Games

By: Nigar Orujova

Simon Clegg, the former Chief Executive of the British Olympic Association and Ipswich Town Football Club, has been appointed as Chief Operating Officer of the Baku 2015 European Games Operating Committee. (BEGOC)

His appointment follows the recent departure of Chief Operating Officer Jim Scherr.

Clegg, who is presently the European Games Executive Director for the event’s rights holder the EOC, will be stationed in Baku this week. He will cancel all other consultancy contracts presently undertaken through his management company Zeus International Management.

Clegg’s previous experiences include managing Team GB athletes at 12 Olympic and Olympic Winter Games, Chief Executive of the European Youth Olympic Festival in Bath, the largest international multi-sport youth event ever staged in the UK, and being an IOC appointed expert on the Athens 2004 Operational Working Party.

Clegg also led the political and PR campaigns to persuade the British Government and Mayor of London to bid for the 2012 Olympic Games before becoming a bid director and subsequently joining the board of London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games as director.

Commenting on the appointment, Azerbaijan’s Minister of Youth and Sport and BEGOC’s Chief Executive Azad Rahimov said he is delighted that Clegg has agreed to take up this new role.

“He has the right skill set and experience to lead the organisation as we move from a planning phase into operational delivery mode with just 14 months until the Opening Ceremony. We have enjoyed a close working relationship over the last nine months when he has been representing the European Olympic Committees and I have every confidence that together we will deliver a magnificent event for the best athletes in Europe,” he said.

President of the European Olympic Committees Patrick Hickey said, “Simon has made a major contribution to the successful holding of the inaugural European Games over the last nine months that he has been our Executive Director.”

“His in-depth knowledge and understandings of the Organising Committee functions coupled with his leadership and management expertise made him an obvious choice for this new top position in European Sport. We look forward to continuing to work with Simon to ensure that we can hold an exciting and innovative event for the top athletes from our continent. The real legacy of a successful Baku 2015 will be sustainable model for future editions of the European Games,” he expressed.

Clegg said: “I am flattered to have been invited by the Minister of Youth and Sport to take up this new role within the Operating Committee. There is an outstanding existing team within BEGOC many of whom I have worked with over the last nine months and I know that together we can deliver an event which the Azerbaijani people, the European Olympic Family and most importantly the athletes of Europe can be proud of.”

“Any inaugural event creates exciting opportunity to establish something different and our desire is to establish the European Games in Baku at the forefront of continental sporting events around the globe,” he stressed.

Europe’s first senior multi-sport event will consist of more than 6,000 athletes competing in 19 sports from the 49 countries affiliated to the European Olympic Committees.

New state-of-the-art sporting facilities being constructed for the event, include the 65,000 seat National Stadium, the National Gymnastics Arena, as well as aquatics and shooting centres. More than 9,000 athletes and officials will be accommodated in the Athletes Village, which is located within walking distance of the National Stadium, on June 12-28.