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International Association of Athletics Federations
International Association of Athletics Federations

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) is the international governing body for the sport of athletics. It was founded on 17 July 1912 as the International Amateur Athletic Federation by representatives from 17 national athletics federations at the organization's first congress in Stockholm, Sweden. Since October 1993, it has been headquartered in Monaco.

Beginning in 1982, the IAAF passed several amendments to its rules to allow athletes to receive compensation for participating in international competitions. However, the organization retained the word amateur in its name until its 2001 congress, at which it changed its name to the International Association of Athletics Federations. In June 2019 the IAAF approved a rebranding of the organization to World Athletics, beginning after the 2019 IAAF World Championships in Doha.[1]

The IAAF's president is Sebastian Coe of the United Kingdom. He was elected at the 2015 congress before the 2015 World Championships in Athletics in Beijing, China.[2]

Foundation


The process to found the IAAF was started at a meeting in Stockholm, Sweden on 17 July 1912 soon after the completion of the 1912 Summer Olympics in that city. Here 27 representatives from 17 national federations agreed to meet at a congress in Germany the following year overseen by Sigfrid Edström who was to become the fledgling organisation's first president. The congress that started on 20 August 1913 in Berlin is when the foundation of the IAAF was formally completed.[3][4][5]

Doping controversy


In 2015, a whistleblower leaked IAAF's blood test records from major competitions. The records revealed that, between 2001 and 2012, athletes with suspicious drug test results won a third of the medals in endurance events at the Olympics and World Championships—a total of 146 medals including 55 golds—but the IAAF caught none of them.[6] After reviewing the results, Robin Parisotto, a scientist and leading "anti-doping" expert, said, "Never have I seen such an alarmingly abnormal set of blood values. So many athletes appear to have doped with impunity, and it is damning that the IAAF appears to have idly sat by and let this happen."[6] Craig Reedie, president of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), said his organisation was "very disturbed by these new allegations ... which will, once again, shake the foundation of clean athletes worldwide", and that its "independent commission will investigate the claims".[6]

Around the same time, the University of Tübingen in Germany claimed that the IAAF suppressed publication of a 2011 report in which "[h]undreds of athletes", as many as a third of the world's top athletes, "admitted violating anti-doping rules".[7]

On 1 November 2015, former IAAF president Lamine Diack was arrested in France and is under investigation on suspicion of corruption and money laundering.[8][9] Diack allegedly accepted "$1.2 million from the Russian athletics federation to cover up the positive doping tests of at least six Russian athletes in 2011."[8]

In November 2015, WADA published its report, which found "systemic failures" in the IAAF had prevented an "effective" anti-doping programme and concluded that Russia should be banned from competing in international competitions because of its athletes' test results.[10] The report continued that "the IAAF allowed the conduct to occur and must accept its responsibility" and that "corruption was embedded" in the organization.[11]

In January 2016, as a result of the doping scandal and WADA's report, the IAAF's biggest sponsor, Adidas, announced that it was ending its sponsorship deal with the IAAF four years early. The BBC reported that as a result the IAAF would lose $33 million (£23 million) worth of revenue. The 11-year sponsorship deal with Adidas was due to run until 2019.[12] World-record holding sprinter Michael Johnson described the scandal as more serious than that faced by FIFA.[11] In February 2016, Nestlé announced that it was ending its IAAF sponsorship.[13]

In June 2016, following a meeting of the IAAF's ruling council, the IAAF upheld its ban on Russia's track and field team from entering the Rio de Janeiro Olympics.[14] In February 2017, All-Russia Athletic Federation disqualified by decision of the IAAF Council for 8 years for the creation of a doping system.

The IAAF has since resisted demands that Russia be re-instated, on the basis that the country repeatedly failed to satisfy all the agreed criteria. The decision was supported by Sean Ingle of The Guardian who wrote in a column that the IAAF should maintain their ban on Russia through the 2016 Olympics in Rio.[15] That meant Russian athletes could compete at all major events in the following years, including the 2017 IAAF World Championships in London[16] and the 2018 European Championships in Berlin only as neutral athletes. In September 2018, the IAAF faced a legal challenge by Russia to overturn the suspension after the reinstatement of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency, but Hugo Lowell of the i newspaper reported the country's status would not change.[17] The legal case was later dropped.

Presidents


Since the establishment of the IAAF, it has had six presidents:

Area associations


The IAAF has a total of 215 member federations divided into 6 area associations.[18][19]

Age categories


  • Senior (all the athletes over 20 years old) (age-group competition over age 35 has become the domain of World Masters Athletics)
  • Junior (athletes aged 18 or 19 years on 31 December of the year of the competition)[20]
  • Youth (athletes aged 16 or 17 years on 31 December of the year of the competition)[20]

Competitions


Included in its charge are the standardization of timekeeping methods and world records. The IAAF also organizes many major athletics competitions worldwide, including:

IAAF partner organisations


As of 1 November 2015:[21]

See also


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