Press Release: IAAF's Special Congress, Monaco

JAAA NEWS RELEASE

DATE: December 16, 2016

Subject: Press Release, IAAF's Special Congress, Monaco

At the recent IAAF’s special congress in Monaco the JAAA opted not to vote. We wish to highlight our reasons for doing this whilst pointing out our continued support for any measures that will ensure that clean athletes compete on a level playing field.  First and

Press Release newforemost, the member countries were not asked to vote on any one issue. There was a list of fifteen different proposals contained in two constitutions which Congress was asked to “rubber stamp” (vote for without amendments). This in itself was unprecedented. We know of no other time in the 104-year history of the IAAF that federations had to vote for a series of proposals as a unit. We would have preferred for the items to be separated, discussed and voted on individually. Here are some of the proposals that we feel would have benefitted from further discussions and a common position obtained;

  • Changes to composition of Council to reflect gender balance. The timing of the introduction of this has been decided not by the member federations but by a small group of individuals and needed further discussion at congress.
  • The IAAF Council’s Executive Board’s composition would be drastically changed without a full discussion amongst the member Federations at Congress.
  • Term limits were already agreed to and included in the 2015 constitution.  In this new document the three term maximum period is still included but would no longer apply to the existing council members who could serve until 2027 if re-elected. Some of these members have already served more than four terms.
  • The current age limit of seventy years agreed to and included in the 2015 constitution has now been removed without any discussion at congress.
  • Committees will no longer be elected by congress but instead become appointed commissions basically removing member federations voting rights at congress.

These changes were spread across two constitutions named the 2017 and 2019 constitutions respectively, with the integrity and anti-doping related changes in the 2017 constitution and the governance changes in the 2019 one. Whilst we unreservedly support the changes proposed in the 2017 constitution and feel strongly that they needed to be adopted in order to chart a new course for athletics. We however felt just as strongly that the sweeping governance changes proposed merited fuller discussion by the entire congress and decisions taken on each item rather than adopting them en bloc. They should not have been married to the changes proposed in the 2017 constitution especially seeing that these changes would not be effective until 2019. We have also repeatedly pointed out our objection to this course of action in the roadshow and the regional discussions leading up to this vote. Our support for the integrity provisions were also made clear in these forums.

 The JAAA’s is also keen to point out that at no point were we against any changes that would see tighter restrictions against drug cheats. Our president Dr Warren Blake’s introduction to the JAAA’s executive was as a drug tester and the Federation has always opposed doping in sports and have consistently fought to eliminate doping in sport. To suggest that we abstained because we didn’t support tighter regulations against drug cheats is simply not true. We have also been criticised for not wanting athletes to have a voice when the truth is we are one of the very few federations where a current athlete (in Michael Frater) was accepted as part of our executive.   

 We end by repeating that we support any measure that seeks to eradicate doping in sport. We are a super power in sprinting and we are of the firm belief that our status as the premier country in the sprints would have been established a long time ago if the fight against drugs was as strong worldwide as it is now. We don’t see it as mere coincidence that our prominence as a track and field force is coming at a time when the practice of rigidly fighting against drugs across the globe is as prominent as it is now. 

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