Today in Frankfurt, Germany, I led a long-planned special meeting of the European Athletics Council and nine current or past European members of the IAAF Council. The aims were to discuss issues of importance to the sport in Europe and coordinate our future work, starting with the first full meeting of the current IAAF Council in Monaco 26-27 November.
At the top of today’s agenda was integrity in athletics, specifically the extremely serious allegations relating to doping and corruption that are currently being addressed by the IAAF, the French authorities, WADA and others.
We heard reports from members of the previous IAAF Council and a representative of the Russian athletics federation, which helped to clarify many points about what has been known and done in the past.
It was agreed that this is a dark and sad time for athletics. Although such problems are not unique to our sport or organisations, what we are learning from various sources and what is likely to emerge in the future are extremely disappointing and against all the values and ideals we hold.
However, we are heartened by the thought that once we know all the facts we will have a unique opportunity to take appropriate action, implement necessary reforms and start to rebuild the credibility of our sport.
The meeting participants also agreed unanimously to give our full backing and support to the IAAF President Sebastian Coe in his efforts to lead the sport through the difficult and complicated process ahead. We are aware that it will take time and there will be many challenges, but we have full confidence in President Coe’s leadership.
For us, the highest priorities now are 1) a complete review and any necessary changes to the governance of the IAAF with the aim of eliminating future possibilities for corruption, and 2) support for necessary changes to the organisation of the sport and anti-doping systems at the national level with the aim of strengthening the fight against doping.
The position of European Athletics and our guests at the end of today’s meeting is that athletics is a sport that continues to offer great value to participants, audiences and partners around the world.
By standing together and upholding all our values, we can and will work through the current difficulties and athletics will emerge stronger in the future.