Niels Nygaard is one of two contenders for the position of EOC vice-president ©EOC

Denmark's Niels Nygaard has cited improved governance standards as a priority if elected vice-president of the European Olympic Committees (EOC) here tomorrow while Dutch opponent André Bolhuis wishes to foster greater collaboration between the continent's 50 member federations.

The duo, respective Presidents of the National Olympic Committee and Sports Confederation of Denmark (DIF) and The Netherlands Olympic Committee and Sport Federation (NOC-NSF), are the only two candidates vying for a single position at tomorrow's EOC General Assembly.

It is the only senior position for which there will be contested elections as Slovenia's Janez Kocijančič, Italy's Raffaele Pagnozzi and Cyprus' Kikis Lazarides are unopposed for the roles of President, secretary general and treasurer respectively. 

Kocijančič was formerly the vice-president before assuming the Presidential role on a temporary basis last year when Ireland's Patrick Hickey stood-down last year to fight charges in Brazil - which he denies - relating to alleged involvement in a ticketing scam.

Nygaard, a Danish indoor champion over 1,500 metres in 1972 who has led the DIF since 2007 and sat on the EOC Executive Committee since 2013, has vowed to help all European NOCs improve governance standards.

"We have been successful in Denmark in many ways: by winning medals but also by bringing more people into active sport," the 64-year-old told insidethegames here today.

"I want to use that experience to make a difference to the development of the EOC.

"My other key priority is good governance, which I believe is something very important to maintain the reputation of the sports world."

André Bolhuis is standing for EOC vice-president ©Getty Images
André Bolhuis is standing for EOC vice-president ©Getty Images

Nygaard added: "In the EOC, as in other organisations, we have to make things transparent and ensure high levels of ethics and transparency.

"The Olympic Movement has a big challenge to work with these principles.

"I think the International Olympic Committee and its President, Thomas Bach, have set the tone about how we should work in a good manner - it requires cultures in Olympic Movement and International Federations to adapt to these principles.

"I am not meaning to criticise sporting bodies, but we have to help each others.

"This is an area which i feel strongly about and I would work to give help within the EOC."

Bolhuis is a two-time hockey Olympian for The Netherlands who carried the nation's flag at the Opening Ceremony of Montreal 1976.

The 71-year-old, a dentist by profession, has led the NOC-NSF since 2010 but has never occupied an EOC Executive Committee role.

“If elected as vice-president I consider it my fundamental duty to contribute to the future success of the EOC," he told insidethegames.

"I am dedicated to working closely with President Janez Kocijancic, the EOC Executive Board, and the European Olympic family. 

"Together, all NOCs, big and small, we can achieve our common goals and keep Europe at the heart of global sports.

"My substantive focus will be on sharing the vast amount of knowledge and insights we collectively have as European NOCs and EOC Commissions."

Janez Kocijančič, left, was the former vice-president but is now the sole candidate to replace Patrick Hickey, centre, in the top position ©Getty Images
Janez Kocijančič, left, was the former vice-president but is now the sole candidate to replace Patrick Hickey, centre, in the top position ©Getty Images

Bolhuis claimed that, "no matter where you go in Europe, every NOC has beautiful stories to tell about how they inspired people - especially young people - to engage in sport and Olympic values".

He added: "I am convinced there is great untapped potential in exchanging our experience and know-how in such important fields as gender equality, healthy lifestyle, and Olympism.

"Our shared knowledge about elite sport and Games preparation will be of great help in keeping our European athletes on the Olympic podium.

"And likewise, active sharing of our individual NOC’s event management experience would be of tremendous help in solidifying the European Games’ position at the pinnacle of Olympic sports in Europe.”

All 50 EOC members will have a vote - meaning both candidates will be seeking a simple majority of 26 votes.