Simon Clegg: Azerbaijan built the brand of the European Games


Chief Operating Officer of Baku European Games Operation Committee (BEGOC) Simon Clegg has said Azerbaijan managed to build the brand of the European Games.

“Every Azerbaijani is proud that the first European Games are held in Baku,” said Mr Clegg as he visited the headquarters of Azerbaijan State News Agency (AZERTAC).

He hailed AZERTAC`s role as an official media partner of Baku 2015. He said the agency will play an important role in providing extensive coverage of the Games.

Mr Clegg said although Azerbaijan had only 30 months to prepare for the Games, the organizers are on track to make sporting history. He noted that BEGOC aims to organize the Games that Azerbaijan and all its people will be proud of.

He said hosting Baku 2015, Formula-1 European Grand Prix and World Chess Olympiad in 2016, Islamic Solidarity Games in 2017 and the final stage of the European Football Championship in 2020 will be a significant and rich experience for Azerbaijan.

Director General Aslan Aslanov highlighted the activities of AZERTAC, including foreign relations. “The agency, which is producing news in 7 languages on a round-the-clock-basis, has bureaus in 21 countries.” He said AZERTAC is a member of the world`s leading news alliances. Mr Aslanov said AZERTAC will host the General Assembly of the Organization of Asia Pacific News Agencies (OANA) and the 5th News Agencies World Congress in 2016. “AZERTAC will chair these two organizations for three years until 2019.”

The Director General said the agency “is making its contribution to the promotion of the inaugural European Games through the world`s biggest news alliances and our partner news agencies worldwide”. “We are very happy to become the official partner of Baku 2015 first European Games, and this gives us ample opportunities.”

Mr Clegg also responded to questions from AZERTAC employees, covering a wide range of topics, including the preparations for the Games, ticket sales, visitor numbers and broadcasting issues. He said tickets sales are going very well, adding “we think we will be sold out for the Opening Ceremony”. Mr Clegg said the Baku 2015 European Games are a fantastic promotional opportunity for Azerbaijan, as they will be watched not only by the whole of Europe, but also in the USA, China, Japan, India and Africa.

He also shared his views on Azerbaijan, saying Azerbaijanis have a rich history that they can be proud of. “Azerbaijan was the first country to give women suffrage, and this happened 10 years before in my own country.” He said the 95 year old national news agency AZERTAC was one of the remarkable achievements of Azerbaijan.

Mr Aslanov said AZERTAC attaches particular importance to promoting the inaugural European Games to both domestic and international audiences.

Last month AZERTAC and Baku European Games Operation Committee signed a partnership agreement under which AZERTAC became the Official News Agency of the Games.

With a team of over 50 journalists, photographers and cameramen providing extensive coverage of the Games, AZERTAC is the single largest Azerbaijani media organisation at Baku 2015. Its text and photographic content is available in seven languages. In addition,AZERTAC will produce a video news stream which will be available in Azerbaijani. All this content is available via a dedicated Baku 2015 section on the agency’s website.

Simon Clegg was appointed as Chief Operating Officer of Baku 2015 European Games Operation Committee in April, 2014.

His previous experience includes, among many, managing Team GB athletes at 12 Olympic and Olympic Winter Games, Chief Executive of the European Youth Olympic Festival in Bath (the largest international multi-sport youth event ever staged in the UK), Mr Clegg also led the political and PR campaigns to persuade the British Government and Mayor of London to bid for the 2012 Olympic Games before becoming a bid director and subsequently joining the board of London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games as director.


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