Press Release20 Dec 2018

IAAF Nationality Review Panel clears 10 athletes to compete under new flags


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Ten athletes have been cleared to represent new countries since the last update from the IAAF Nationality Review Panel (NRP).

After the IAAF Council approved new Transfer of Allegiance rules, eight athletes were cleared in October to represent new countries.

The new regulations established the role of the NRP and the requirements under which athletes may represent an IAAF Member Federation in international competition.

The panel reviewed the first set of full applications earlier in the year and approved five athletes to transfer allegiance and determined the eligibility of three athletes who requested approval to compete for their new countries.

Since then, a further 10 athletes have been approved to transfer allegiance. The following eight athletes can compete for their new countries with immediate effect: Adhanom Abraha (Eritrea to Sweden), Nick Ekelund-Arenander (Denmark to Sweden), Samrawit Mengsteab (Eritrea to Sweden), Abdelhamid Zerrifi (Algeria to France), Ontoniel Costa Badjana (Guinea-Bissau to Portugal), Mohamed Ali (Somalia to Netherlands), Yanique Haye-Smith (Jamaica to Turks and Caicos Islands) and Yunier Perez Romero (Cuba to Spain).

USA’s Blake Haney will be eligible to represent Canada on 10 July 2019, while Greece’s Paraskevas Batzavalis will be eligible to represent Cyprus on 1 June 2021.

The NRP has received 24 complete applications so far. Some of these are still under review and, in accordance with the new regulations, only the final decisions of the NRP will be announced. The panel will continue to consider applications submitted by Member Federations that are complete, including all the required information and documents.

The new rules require a minimum three-year waiting period before an athlete may transfer to represent another Member Federation, and the provision of evidence that those countries are offering full citizenship and associated rights. No athlete can transfer before the age of 20 or transfer more than once.

“We reviewed the rules governing Transfer of Allegiance for the specific purpose of protecting our athletes from any abuses that occurred under the previous system,” said IAAF President Sebastian Coe.

“I’m pleased to see the new system is now working as we intended, allowing athletes with a genuine connection to a new country to represent that country after appropriate checks and balances.”

The full list of decisions taken by the Nationality Review Panel can be found here.

Currently, the Nationality Review Panel is composed of Hiroshi Yokokawa, Geoff Gardner, Marton Gyulai and Rozle Prezelj.