European Athletics interim President Dobromir Karamarinov has discussed ways to safeguard athletes with the IOC ©Getty Images

European Athletics interim President Dobromir Karamarinov has met with International Olympic Committee (IOC) Executive Board member Prince Feisal bin Al-Hussein to discuss a strategy to safeguard athletes across Europe.

Prince Feisal, who is the chair of the IOC Working Group for Prevention of Harassment and Abuse in Sport (PHAS), and also the President of the Jordan Olympic Committee, joined Karamarinov on a virtual call alongside Kirsty Burrows.

Burrows is an expert IOC consultant in the area of safeguarding athletes.

All three discussed best practice in preventing and solving issues around harassment and abuse of athletes in sport.

It follows on from numerous scandals in sport related to the abuse of athletes, including the high-profile case at USA Gymnastics.

More than 250 gymnasts testified that former USA Gymnastics national team doctor Larry Nassar abused them while in his position, with the governing body criticised for its handling of the allegations. 

Other sports such as football, figure skating, triathlon, swimming and speed skating have also been mired by scandals related to abuse.

IOC Board member Prince Feisal bin Al-Hussein discussed safeguarding measures with Dobromir Karamarinov ©Getty Images
IOC Board member Prince Feisal bin Al-Hussein discussed safeguarding measures with Dobromir Karamarinov ©Getty Images

The hour-long call between Karamarinov, Prince Feisal and Burrows covered the recent white paper released by European Athletics that pledges to focus on the topic more in future.

Karamarinov took over as interim President earlier this year after former leader Svein Arne Hansen, who later passed away, fell ill.

European Athletics chief executive Christian Milz also joined the call which concluded with a set of steps to ensure safeguarding for athletes.

"I want to thank His Royal Highness for offering European Athletics his words of wisdom and guidance on how we can best tackle and prevent abuse and harassment in athletics," said Karamarinov to Prince Feisal.

"It is critical that we take proactive approaches to such important issues, particularly as the COVID-19 pandemic has created more scope for the potential harassment and abuse of athletes.

"We wants parents to feel that we are doing all we can to safeguard their children's safety, and more importantly, that athletics provides their children with a positive environment in which they can develop both physically and mentally."

European Athletics will conclude its review of its safeguarding policies and procedures with its members, before adopting new guidelines for its 51 member federations.

"We are delighted to see that the IOC's great work on this very important topic is being embraced by European Athletics," said Prince Feisal.

"Abuse and harassment is an issue that affects all sports and one which we as leaders of the Olympic Movement need to be tackling seriously. 

"I therefore look forward to continuing our discussions with European Athletics and supporting them through the implementation of policies in the IOC Safeguarding Toolkit."