Home News London looks to strike gold as IAAF ponders league overhaul

London looks to strike gold as IAAF ponders league overhaul


from the Irish Examiner By David Martin
LONDON will have to wait to discover whether it will be given a Golden League meeting in a planned restructuring of the series, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) revealed yesterday
London and Lausanne have been tipped to be included in an expanded schedule from 2010, but the IAAF are waiting to make a decision until all the necessary financial partners have been secured.

In a move designed to make the meetings more popular and spread them around the globe, the world governing body are hoping to increase the number of competitions from six to possibly 12 from next year, and to move the elite Golden League outside Europe for the first time

An IAAF spokesman confirmed highly successful Super Grand Prix meetings in London and Lausanne could be pencilled in at the expense of current ones if the programme is expanded. “Everything is still in the planning stages and no decisions have yet been taken about the restructuring of the Golden League series. Until negotiations are complete, we don’t know which of the current GL meetings will remain inside and which new meetings will come in,” said IAAF communications director Nick Davies.

“Everyone recognises that London and Lausanne are world-class meetings but the vital first step is to secure the investment funding.

“There is a meeting of the IAAF Advisory Board, headed by president Lamine Diack, in the first week of February, and the investment package should be presented to them.”

The group, which will include IAAF senior vice-president Sergey Bubka, vice-president and London Olympics chief Sebastian Coe and Bob Hersh, will consider the format and how it can be implemented ahead of the IAAF Council’s meeting in Berlin on March 21-22.

Currently, Berlin, Brussels, Paris, Oslo, Rome and Zurich host Golden League meetings, and the IAAF have made no secret their intention will be to expand into the Far and Middle East and the United States.

The Aviva London Grand Prix, which has the most expensive budget in the world and is the only meeting of its kind held over two days, would appear a logical choice given its high profile and attendance records in recent years. Lausanne, too, has produced outstanding meetings but with Zurich — the ‘Three Hours Olympics’ — already held on Swiss soil, the IAAF may have a difficult task to choose between the two, unless Switzerland is allowed two meetings.