22nd March 2017

Statement of European Athletics President Svein Arne Hansen

In recent weeks the IAAF Council has been confronted with new and disturbing integrity-linked accusations related to one of its members. In my personal opinion, any individual who finds themselves under such suspicion now or in the future should step aside from all their sport-related duties until the issue is resolved as it is not good for the organisation they serve.

I want to emphasise that in the current case we are dealing with allegations and must always presume innocence until they are proven. However, should the allegations turn out to be true, they would reveal an extremely disappointing betrayal of athletics and its values, which would damage the sport’s image in the eyes of its supporters and the public.

I expect the IAAF to follow its regulations strictly and come to a decision on the matter at hand as quickly as possible so that whatever the findings both credibility and trust can be restored. It is essential that the IAAF and all of sport continue to demonstrate commitment to the often-stated principle of zero tolerance for cheating, corruption and other forms of wrongdoing.

At this time, I would like to underline my support for the leadership of IAAF President Sebastian Coe and all the efforts he has made to improve the governance of athletics, in particular for the very welcome constitutional amendments agreed by an overwhelming majority at the IAAF Special Congress in Monaco last December.

We in European Athletics strongly believe that we can never rest in our efforts to ensure our sport is run with full integrity, and that every measure that can be taken to prevent or reveal breaches of our rules and ethics code is taken. We are proud of the practical work we have done in recent years including numerous decisions that improve transparency in all aspects of what we do, the upcoming introduction of a whistle-blower platform for doping and corruption matters, the development of a soon-to-be launched mandatory anti-doping education programme and our current project to examine the credibility of European Records and take necessary action.  In addition, at our Council meeting next month we will receive a project team report containing proposals for bringing the European Athletics Constitution in line with the changes made last year by the IAAF so that these can be put to a vote at our Congress in Vilnius in October.

• This media release was originally published by European Athletics on 22 March 2017. To access the original, please click here

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