Leon Reid’s hopes of representing Ireland in Berlin look doomed

Sprinter was hoping to switch allegiance from Britain before European Championships

Bath-born sprinter Leon Reid is now expected to fall short on his transfer of allegiance from Britain to Ireland in time for next week's European Athletics Championships in Berlin.

Having won a National sprint double over 100m-200m in Santry at the weekend, Reid was provisionally named in the 42-strong Irish team for Berlin, subject to ratification from the IAAF, who last year put a freeze on all such international transfers in part to crackdown on athletes competing under so-called flags of convenience.

Having represented Britain at junior and under-23 level up to July 2015, winning championship medals in both grades, Reid, just turned 24, does fit some, but not all, of the new criteria agreed by the IAAF at the council meeting in Buenos Aires last Friday.

Reid, whose mother was from Belfast, had his application held up as a result of that freeze: crucially, under the full list of new criteria, his application for a transfer must have been made to the IAAF three years prior to Berlin, and he must also prove some residency or “the place or location in which the athlete is registered with the relevant authorities as having his primary and permanent home and/or where he ordinarily lives for at least 75% of the time, excluding trips away to train or compete; and the word ‘reside’ is to be interpreted accordingly”.


They also state the athlete must have “or will have a genuine, close, credible and established link to that country or territory (e.g., through residence there)”.

Reid, by his own admission, has spent time visiting relatives in Ireland, but has never lived or trained here for such an extended period, although he does run with the Wexford Club Menapians AC.

According to the IAAF rule, seen by The Irish Times, the full list of amendments to Rule 5, which governs ‘Eligibility to Represent a Member’, and made effective from July 27th, 2018, includes the following

the athlete observing a waiting period of three years from the date that the application for approval is made to the IAAF (during which period the athlete must not represent any Member in National Representative Competition or compete in any Other Relevant Competition); and

the athlete demonstrating that he has a genuine, close, credible and established link to that Country or Territory (as applicable) and/or will have such a link by the end of the waiting period.

the athlete has or will have a genuine, close, credible and established link to that country or territory (e.g., through residence there).

Part of Reid’s pending case was that his transfer request was made before that those new guidelines were drafted, but the IAAF’s new criteria would appear to be clear.

Ian O'Riordan

Ian O'Riordan

Ian O'Riordan is an Irish Times sports journalist writing on athletics