London waits on 'Golden' decision

 

ATHLETICS:LONDON WILL have to wait to discover whether it will be given a Golden League meeting in a planned restructuring of the series, the International Association of Athletics Federations revealed yesterday.

London and Lausanne have been tipped to be included in an expanded schedule from 2010, but the IAAF are waiting to make a decision until all the necessary financial partners have been secured.

In a move designed to make the meetings more popular and spread them around the globe, the world governing body are hoping to increase the number of competitions from six to possibly 12 from next year, and to move the elite Golden League outside Europe for the first time.

An IAAF spokesman confirmed highly successful Super Grand Prix meetings in London and Lausanne could be pencilled in at the expense of current ones if the programme is expanded.

The group, which will include IAAF senior vice-president Sergey Bubka, vice-president and London Olympics chief Sebastian Coe and Bob Hersh, will consider the format and how it can be implemented ahead of the IAAF Council's meeting in Berlin on March 21st-22nd.

Currently, Berlin, Brussels, Paris, Oslo, Rome and Zurich host Golden League meetings, and the IAAF have made no secret their intention will be to expand into the Far and Middle East, which already stage big events, and the United States.

Certainly it would seem unlikely there will be an increase in the number of meetings on European soil. The London Grand Prix, which has the most expensive budget in the world and is the only meeting of its kind held over two days, would appear a logical choice given its high profile.

Lausanne, too, has produced outstanding meetings but with Zurich already held on Swiss soil, the IAAF may have a difficult task to choose between the two, unless Switzerland is allowed to have two meetings.