President Diack at Grand Prix Final Conference (© Getty Images Allsport)
ParisIAAF President Lamine Diack announced today that the IAAF Golden League would be cut from seven to six meetings.
Berlin, Brussels, Oslo, Paris, Rome and Zurich will again host Golden League meetings with Monaco dropping out because it is scheduled to host next year's World Athletics Final.
The participation of Oslo in the Golden League is conditional on a promised renovation of the Bislett Stadium which includes the current six-lane track to eight-lanes. The IAAF President explained that a written guarantee to this effect from the Norwegian authorities must be received by October 2002, or Oslo would lose its place in the Golden League. In this case, London or Stockholm, would be considered as replacements.
“The Bislett Games has made a major contribution to our sport for many decades and is part of our heritage. But the meeting needs to be in the Golden League if it is to survive, because the money received from the IAAF for the international TV rights is a large part of the overall budget. For this reason I believe it is fair that Oslo gets one last chance to upgrade its facilities.”
Diack also pointed out that Rome had signed a one-year contract whereas Berlin, Brussels, Paris and Zurich all signed three-year terms. "We will review the situation after a year because Rome has a problem with the stadium which is far too big. It is not good to show TV images around the world of a half empty stadium so we hope they find a way to reduce the capacity for the meeting. We also have a problem in that Rome has a brand of alcohol as one of their sponsors and this is against our best interests," he said.
Diack had some encouraging words for London and Stockholm: "London and Stockholm failed to make the list not because they don’t deserve it, because both are excellent meetings. In particular, the London Meeting Organisers, Fast Track, have shown a lot of imagination in the way they present athletics not just at the Crystal Palace meeting but also at the Commonwealth Games in Manchester and our own World Championships in Edmonton. What they are doing can be seen as a blueprint for other athletics organisers."