Rabat was confirmed as a host following the Diamond League General Assembly meeting  ©IAAF

Rabat will become the first African city to host an International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Diamond League meeting after the event's General Assembly voted for the Moroccan capital to replace New York City in 2016.

The decision was made in Zurich, with Rabat now joining a list of 14 locations which will host events during the prestigious series.

Rabat, which first applied to host an event in 2014, was subject to a rigorous evaluation process to confirm that its organisation, facilities and services were of a high enough standard to be included on the international circuit, the IAAF claimed. 

Competition will take place at the Complexe Prince Moulay Abdellah, which stages the international Mohammed VI event annually.

“This is a proud moment for our country’s athletics community and for the international reputation of Moroccan sport in general,” said Abdeslam Ahizoune, President of the Royal Moroccan Athletics Federation and the meeting director.

“The inclusion of our meeting in the IAAF Diamond League is a clear affirmation of the ability of our country to deliver the highest international standard sports product.”

The event will be the third stop on the series, which sees the world’s top athletes compete in 32 individual track and field disciplines, with competition scheduled to be held on May 22.

It will follow the season opening competition in Doha on May 6, with events also scheduled to take place later that month in Shanghai and Eugene respectively on May 14 and 28.

Competition will take place at the Complexe Prince Moulay Abdellah
Competition will take place at the Complexe Prince Moulay Abdellah ©Getty Images

Rome, Birmingham, Oslo and Stockholm are set to stage events during June, before athletes will have their final Olympic preparations in Monaco on July 15 and London on July 22 and 23.

Newly crowned Olympic champions are expected to be among those returning to the series on August 25 in Lausanne and two days later in Paris, before competition draws to a close with meetings in Zurich and Brussels on September 1 and 9 respectively.

With the series having already had events held in North America, Europe and Asia since its launch in 2009, IAAF President Sebastian Coe believes taking the Diamond League to a new continent is an important step.

"We are pleased to be able to take our premier athletics series into a new continental area,” said the Diamond League chairman, who last year claimed bringing the IAAF World Championships to Africa in the next decade was a priority.

“The IAAF Diamond League offers the best athletics entertainment to the world outside of the IAAF World Championships and the Olympic Games.

“Broadcast annually in more than 120 countries, the series provides athletics with its next most prominent global shop window.

“We thank New York for contributing to this great project during the past six seasons and know that they will continue to support athletics in the future.

“We proudly welcome the inclusion of Rabat."

New York City organisers have claimed that they want to focus on a "street" athletics meeting in order to attract a younger generation of fans.

"It’s been a great run on Randall’s Island, New York, and now we’re looking ahead to producing a new event," said Mark Wetmore, Meeting Director of New York.

"As we look forward, we believe that changing our focus to a street meet is one way to make the event attractive to a younger audience."