EOC President Patrick Hickey has criticised the alleged proposals ©Getty Images

Plans to restrict how Federations competing in the inaugural European Championships in 2018 participate in other continental multisports events have been criticised today by European Olympic Committees (EOC) President Patrick Hickey, who claims they "cannot be held ransom by private commercial organisations".

The European Championships, due to consist of continental competitions across seven sports taking place simultaneously in Glasgow and Berlin in 2018, are seen as a rival to the EOC-organised European Games, first held in Baku last year and due to take place for a second time in 2019.

Athletics is scheduled for the German capital at the European Championships, while aquatics, cycling, golf, gymnastics rowing and triathlon action would all take place in the Scottish city.

Under the latest proposals, insidethegames understands, the seven sports on the programme would be unable to hold a European Championships during another multisports event for a period of one year after the 2018 edition, currently scheduled for August 1 to 12.

"This information is news to me and I would be very surprised if such a clause did exist in the contract between the private commercial company European Sports Championship Management (ESCM) who are acting in collaboration with the European Broadcasting Union and the European Sports Federations," EOC President Patrick Hickey told insidethegames today.

"If, however, such a clause did exist, it would be completely against the Olympic Charter and the IOC strategic plan Agenda 2020.

"The Olympic Movement cannot be held ransom by private commercial organisations whose only interest is profit and the ownership of sport in Europe must and will be protected at all costs."

Only one sport - judo - held its annual European Championships during Baku 2015.

But Hickey has vowed to incorporate more such events into the second edition, for which a host is still to be confirmed.

Seven sports are due to be contested at the inaugural European Sports Championships in Glasgow and Berlin in 2018 ©Glasgow 2018/Twitter
Seven sports are due to be contested at the inaugural European Sports Championships in Glasgow and Berlin in 2018 ©Glasgow 2018/Twitter

insidethegames understands that the EOC now plans to raise the matter with International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach as well as with the European Union (EU) for a possible violation of EU Competition Law.

"We wouldn't dream of blocking any Federation from competing at another multisports event," ESCM director Jon Ridgeon told insidethegames in response.

"We came to a collective decision that no other official European Championships would be held at multisport events.

"All seven sports were part of these discussions and agreed to the plans.

"For the avoidance of confusion, we are not trying to prevent anyone competing at other events - that is not the way forward."

He confirmed, however, that the agreement would include the 2019 European Games. 

Neither golf nor rowing featured at Baku 2015 or are expected to be on the European Games programme in 2019.

European Championships held alongside the European Games in aquatics or athletics are also seen as unlikely, given how only junior athletes competed in the Baku aquatics competitions and athletics action consisted only of the third tier of the European Team Championships.

But the chance was thought to be far greater in cycling, gymnastics and triathlon, the three other sports affected.

European Gymnastics Union general director Kirsi Erofejeff-Engman told insidethegames today that no decision had yet been reached.

Gymnastics, in which competition took place in all five disciplines at Baku 2015, is one sport due to be affected by the proposal ©Getty Images
Gymnastics, in which competition took place in all five disciplines at Baku 2015, is one sport due to be affected by the proposal ©Getty Images

They are keen to "keep all options open" and will have more discussions at a UEG Executive Committee meeting in July, she said.

"European Athletics is very happy that the Berlin 2018 European Athletics Championships will be part of the inaugural multisport European Championships," added a European Athletics Association spokesperson.

"It would not be possible for the European Athletics Championships itself to be part of any other multisport event that happens outside of our championships' fixed place on the athletics calendar every two years.

"We don't envisage any of our existing senior championships being part of any other multi-sport events."

The European Triathlon Union said: "After the positive responses about our presence at the [Baku 2015] Games, we anticipate that triathlon will once again feature in the schedule."

Neither the European Swimming Federation nor the European Cycling Union have yet responded to insidethegames' request for clarification. 

This follows a similar dispute which escalated last week when the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) announced its "full support" of FIBA Europe's decision to ban 14 teams from international competition for backing the unsanctioned EuroLeague, currently the continent's premier club competition.

Hickey claimed last week that this decision was needed to protect the integrity of sport.

Russia is the "preferred choice" of the EOC to host the 2019 European Games, but the country's Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko said earlier this month that they "never sent" an application and are "absolutely busy" until 2020.