By Duncan Mackay at the JW Marriott Hotel Absheron in Baku

An agreement for athletics to be part of the European Games in Baku next year has been formally agreed ©Baku 2015A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed between European Athletics and the European Olympic Committees (EOC) for the integration of the 2015 European Athletics Team Championships 3rd League into the next year's inaugural European Games here, it was announced today. 

The MoU is part of a long-term strategic plan developed in association with the Azerbaijan Athletics Federation to help grow the sport here. 

The inclusion of the European Athletics Team Championships 3rd League as part of Baku 2015 is a compromise to ensure that the sport is represented in the Games following a long stand-off between European Athletics and the EOC. 

"We are pleased that we now have an agreement that the European Athletics Team Championships 3rd League will be part of the European Games, as Azerbaijan will be competing in this league and it gives a valuable opportunity for their athletes to compete on home soil," said Hansjörg Wirz, President of European Athletics. 

The European Athletics Team Championships 3rd League is scheduled to take place on June 20 and 21.

The Games are due to open on June 12 and are also set to feature an exhibition street athletics event. 

Athletics at the 2015 European Games will take place in the new Olympic Stadium currently under construction ©Baku 2015Athletics at the 2015 European Games will take place in the new Olympic Stadium currently under construction ©Baku 2015 
"We will now work with the relevant parties to ensure the smooth running of this event as well with the Azerbaijan Athletics Federation to finalise the details of the long-term strategy, taking into account our responsibility and duty to govern our sport on the continent and to successfully implement our strategic plan," said Wirz.

Baku is due host the European Youth Olympic Trials for athletics ahead of the Nanjing Summer Youth Olympic Games from May 30 untild June 1, and the Azerbaijan capital will host the European Athletics Convention on October 9 until 11.

"The Azerbaijan Athletics Federation and its President Chingiz Husseinzade have been very proactive in working with us to develop a long-term plan for athletics in the country and we believe that together we have found the right path as we move forward," said Wirz.

A European Athletics delegation recently visited Azerbaijan for a coordination meeting for the European Youth Olympic Trials.

Further discussions in relation to athletics in the country will take place during the period of competition at the end of May.

We hope that the development of athletics in Azerbaijan will go to a new level with our plan with European Athletics," said Husseinzade. 

"It is highly important for us to develop athletics in our country considering that it's one of the core sports disciplines."

The announcement completes a productive few days for Baku following insidethegames exclusive story yesterday that an agreement to stage a Formula One race in Azerbaijan has been officially signed with Bernie Ecclestone and the successful hosting of the annual Congress of the International Sports Press Association (AIPS).

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