By Duncan Mackay

Simon Clegg, who took over as Baku 2015 chief operating officer last week, is confident that the first European Games will be a success ©Baku 2015Baku is on course to host an outstanding inaugural European Games next year, new chief operating officer Simon Clegg predicted today.

The former chief executive of the British Olympic Association started his role last week after replacing American Jim Scherr, who has returned home.

"I can confirm that a strong base has already been created for organising the competition," said Clegg, who was already involved in the project as a consultant for the European Olympic Committees.  

"I am very pleased with the process of planning and implementation of all works.

"Some problems are unavoidable because the Games are being held for the first time."

Azerbaijan's Youth and Sports Ministry announced today that all the buildings and facilities to be used for Baku 2015 are due be ready and handed over to them to prepare for the competition by February 1. 

"The facilities of the Games are being built with an extraordinary speed and based on all modern standards," said Clegg. 

"I am confident that they will be ready on time.

"Not only the speed of construction, but also the quality is taken into account here.

"Construction of the facilities will contribute to the development of sports in the country for many years."

The National Gymnastics Arena is among the venues already completed for Baku 2015 ©UEGThe National Gymnastics Arena is among the venues already completed for Baku 2015 ©UEG

Clegg is confident that if the Games are a success then it will be a springboard for Baku to host more major events. 

"We put forward new ideas and new initiatives," he said.

"I encourage all the [Baku 2015] Committee members to raise their innovative ideas.

"Experiences obtained here will help us hold more Games in the future."

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April 2014: Scherr quits as Baku 2015 chief operating officer and replaced by Clegg
August 2013: Clegg and Asimakopoulos added to Baku 2015 team