IAAF President Sebastian Coe speaks to the media in Vrsac, Serbia, where he announced the formation of a working party to reform the one-day meeting programme in athletics ©Getty Images

The future shape of one-day meetings on the international athletics calendar will be analysed by a new working group of key directors, administrators and athletes’ agents, the newly-elected President of the International Association of Athletics Associations (IAAF) Sebastian Coe has announced.

Speaking at the Congress of the Association of Balkan Athletics Federations (ABAF) in Vrsac, Serbia, at which he updated Member Federations present about work in progress during his first three weeks in office, Coe said: “The careful process of studying the terms of reference for the IAAF Commissions has now begun and a revamped list of new IAAF Commissions will be finalised by November.

“But hearing the discussions in Vrsac underlines the importance of creating great events in our sport, and I want to use this occasion to announce the creation of a working group to analyse and reform the one-day meeting circuit.

“This working group will be chaired by Rajne Soderberg, former Meeting Director of the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Stockholm and a member of the IAAF Competition Commission, supported by my IAAF Council Colleague Anna Riccardi, athlete representatives Ricky Simms and Stina Funke, Brussels Diamond League Meeting Director Wilfried Meert and former Competitions Director of the European Association Luciano Barra.

Wilfried Meert, longtime director of the Van Damme Memorial Meeting in Brussels, is one of six key appointees on the new IAAF working group looking at reforming the one-day meeting programme ©Getty Images
Wilfried Meert, longtime director of the Van Damme Memorial Meeting in Brussels, is one of six key appointees on the new IAAF working group looking at reforming the one-day meeting programme ©Getty Images

“I am confident that this group will work energetically and creatively to come up with ideas to revitalise the one-day meetings in a way that adds value to the sport’s stakeholders.

“I am also looking forward to announcing soon the full composition of two more working groups which will study two other urgent priorities which is the harmonisation of the international athletics calendar and the World Athletics Series renovation project that began in 2014.”

Coe – who was joined in Vrsac by Sergey Bubka, who will be confirmed next month as the IAAF’s Senior Vice President, and the President of the European Athletics Association, Svein Arne Hansen – commended the ABAF, led by President Dobromir Karmarinov, on its recent efforts to create new competition opportunities.

He added that work was already well underway in evaluating the current resources and structures of the head office, but also emphasised the importance of ensuring that every action and project by the IAAF provided some benefit for the Member Federations and the athletes whom they develop.

Coe concluded his trip by meeting the country’s Prime Minister Aleksandr Vucic and visiting a new indoor training facility in Belgrade.

“I have been very impressed by the work of the Serbian Athletics Federation President Veselin Jevrosimovic and his team because they are creating an environment which aims to create the infrastructures, the human resources and the awareness which will allow athletics to flourish,” said Coe.

“They have also engaged with the Serbian government who have seen how athletics is not just a vehicle for elite achievement but can help them reach national health and education targets.”

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