Report slams NL for withdrawing European Games hosting bid

The Netherlands suffered "great reputation damage" by giving back the organization of the 2019 European Games, the Depla-commission concludes in a report on the matter. The report was presented to the Dutch Olympic Committee NOC*NSF on Monday, NOS reports. 

The committee, led by Breda Mayor and PvdA politician Paul Depla, investigated events between December 2014 - when the NOC*NSF announced they were looking into making a bid for the 2019 European Games - and June 2015 - when the Netherlands withdrew due to insufficient support.

"There was a general international perception and confidence that a country like the Netherlands would have or get the total picture", the European Advice Commission European Games 2019 wrote after the fact. "The international sports organizations will in the coming years be extra vigilant on this point and demand safeguards for Dutch nominations."

The report concludes that there was insufficient cooperation between sport and other policy makers, and there were disagreements between the sport federations themselves. "The European Olympic committee wanted the Netherlands, a bid procedure was not even necessary. The NOC*NSF and the federations did not succeed in laying a good foundation for the initiative. NOC*NSF remained the only driving force, the government and federations did not. That is due to the approach of NOC*NSF, but also to he risk-free preparations of other parties", Commission member an Berent Heukensfeldt Jansen said at the presentation of the report.

According to the commission, the Netherlands should never put itself forward as candidate under conditions, The risk that they would have to withdraw was too great, Heukensfeldt Jansen said. "That led to great loss of reputation", he said.

NOC*NSF Chairman Andre Bolhuis received the report and will consider the recommendations it contains on how to prevent a similar mistake in the future. "There are good recommendations, we can work with it". The board will study the report and inform NOC*NSF on how they are proceeding by early June, he said to NOS.

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