Baku, Azerbaijan, May 29
By Jamila Aliyeva - Trend:
Azerbaijan stands clearly and undisputedly at the center of the European sporting world, Jason Katz, the principal of Tool Shed Group, a consultancy that advises foreign governments, NGOs and corporations in the realms of strategic communications, politics and policy told Trend.
In addition, the Games have already brought jobs and thus greater prosperity to the working class of Azerbaijan, he said.
"Of course, this will continue as the world descends on Baku to attend the Games."
The fact that Azerbaijan so actively and successfully sought to host the inaugural European Games was a stroke of genius on behalf of the government Azerbaijan, according to Katz.
The expert said that chief amongst the motivations to host any large-scale event is the notoriety and prestige the games bring to the nation.
"Second, and of equal importance, are the economic implications of holding such an event."
In both cases, Azerbaijan has scored the winning goal, said Katz, adding that in terms of notoriety and prestige, Azerbaijan has and continues to reap great benefits.
"This is not to even mention the grand, even amazing, venues that have been built," he said.
The expert also commented on the spread of negative information in foreign media outlets seeking to tarnish the image of the upcoming European Games in Baku.
He said that there is always negative press in advance of any large sporting event and gave two examples.
The expert said that a common criticism of Brazil, as well as many other nations, is that the government spends money on sports venues, but not the poor.
Katz also recalled that one of the arguments against the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles was that the influx of motor traffic can make life for residents unlivable.
The reality is that if administered wisely and there is every indication that Azerbaijan has been and continues to be most wise as it prepares for the European Games, that the Games are good for the nation and for the people, according to Katz.
"History tells us that the naysayers are mostly those who are contrarians and/or just plain jealous of the host country," he added.
Baku 2015 is the first ever European Games, an exciting and innovative multi-sport event for the continent which will take place on June 12-28, 2015.
There will be a total of 20 sports at Baku 2015: 16 Olympic sports and four non-Olympic sports. More than 6,000 athletes from across Europe will be representing their nations over 17 days of competition.
Baku was awarded the games by the European Olympic Committees (EOC) in December 2012.
Edited by SI