European Athletics President Svein Arne Hansen has stated a further consultation period will take place over their proposals ©European Athletics

European Athletics President Svein Arne Hansen said a further consultation period will take place regarding their controversial proposal to rewrite records set before 2005.

The Norwegian acknowledged reaction to the proposals, which were part of a report approved by the European Athletics Council last month, had been mixed.

Much of the criticism has come from current record holders who would be affected by the proposed changes.

The ongoing doping scandal in track and field has led to the plans, which European Athletics hope will help restore the sport's reputation. 

Britain's Paula Radcliffe, whose world marathon record of 2 hours 15min 25sec is under threat as a result of the move, branded the decision as "heavy-handed" and "cowardly" after the proposals were unanimously approved by the European Athletics Council.

The 43-year-old said she felt her reputation and integrity had been damaged.

Other athletes who could be affected, including Denmark's Wilson Kipketer, who holds the European record over 800 metres, and Britain's Jonathan Edwards - whose triple jump world record of 18.29m was set in 1995 - have also voiced opposition to the plans.

Britain's Steve Cram labelled it as a "public relations exercise" and claimed it "lumps us in with all the cheats".

Pierce O'Callaghan, European Athletics' Records Credibility Project Team chairman, had claimed European Athletics "sees the bigger picture" and challenged athletes and members of the public who have criticised the plans to "come up with a better solution".

The Irishman also apologised to athletes who could lose their records but said there were some marks on the list which "nobody believes".

The proposals are to be forwarded to the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) so the two organisations can "coordinate the implementation of new record ratification rules".

Paula Radcliffe was one of the world record holders to criticise the proposals ©Getty Images
Paula Radcliffe was one of the world record holders to criticise the proposals ©Getty Images

Hansen claimed the plans, which were described as "radical" by the governing body, had achieved their primary aim of instigating a debate around the issue.

"These proposals are part of a wider set of actions being worked on by European Athletics that are intended to address the governance and integrity challenges faced by our sport and help rebuild the trust we require to best serve athletes and other stakeholders in Europe and around the world," Hansen said in a statement.

"Many of these stakeholders, and in particular current and former athletes, have responded directly to us and through both traditional and social media.

"We are satisfied that we have already achieved our primary aim of initiating a long-overdue and inclusive conversation on this important and emotive topic.

"As might have been expected, the reactions have been mixed.

"There is certainly consensus within all the stakeholder groups that the current record lists are problematic, that few people have confidence in all the European and world records and that something substantial needs to be done to correct the situation.

"In addition, there is strong support for the three main conditions proposed for the recognition of future record: records to be set in designated competitions, minimum number of doping control tests in the 12 months prior to the record and storage of the post-record doping control sample for 10 years.

"The most controversy comes from some of the current record holders who, of course, would be personally affected by the proposed reassignment of record recognition.

"We must be aware of and sympathetic to their concerns."

Svein Arne Hansen, right, has claimed the proposals have instigated a much needed discussion ©Getty Images
Svein Arne Hansen, right, has claimed the proposals have instigated a much needed discussion ©Getty Images

The European Athletics President confirmed a further consultation period would take place over the next four weeks and encouraged stakeholders to contribute to the process.

He also stated that detailed work regarding the proposals would be conducted, including an assessment of the possible impact of any changes.

The Norwegian added that any suggestions for better approaches would be considered and incorporated into the debate, with findings of the consultation going to the IAAF Council.

As well as the proposals to rewrite records in the sport, the plans also included a proposal that athletes may be stripped of their place in the record books "at any time" if the competitor involved fails a drugs test, "even if it does not directly impact the record performance".

Samples from competitors who break a European record will now be stored for 10 years and must be made available for retesting.

Other proposals include ensuring records at senior level can only be set in a "restricted set of high-level competitions" where the IAAF can have "complete confidence" in officials at the event.

Submissions can be made to the consultation process by contacting [email protected].