European Athletics gives green light to ‘revolutionary’ ranking system

Council
European Athletics

The 148th European Athletics Council meeting took place in Paris from 28-30 April. 

A plan for a ranking system to be used for qualification for the European Athletics Championships was approved in principal by the European Athletics Council at its 147th meeting in Lausanne on Saturday.

The system will link existing European one-day meetings to the championships, and develop a strong promotional narrative for the organisation’s flagship event. It will be based on each athlete’s results in head-to-head competition rather than the traditional time or distance standards.

“This is a revolutionary move for promoting our sport,” said European Athletics President Svein Arne Hansen. “Our aim is to show that every time athletes compete it has a clear meaning and is another step on the road to our championships.”

In addition to qualification, the system will give a ranking in each discipline that is updated weekly, providing a stream of stories that both European Athletics and the athletes themselves can communicate through traditional news and social media channels.

According to Hansen, the system will require athletes to compete more often than they currently do, increasing the spotlight on the sport and their exposure to additional doping controls.

“The ultimate aim is to create more and more credible stars in our sport,” said Hansen.

A Project Team is currently testing the system and making refinements before a decision is taken on the launch date, currently projected to be in time for the 2020 European Athletics Championships.

“I am pushing the team to see if we can even be ready in time for the 2018 championships in Berlin,” said Hansen.

The Council meeting was the conclusion of a busy week for European Athletics that included the inauguration of its new headquarters building in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Decisions taken at the Council included:

  • The award of the 2018 SPAR European Cross Country Championships to the Dutch city of Tilburg.
  • Support of the organisation of the Championships of Small States of Europe in 2018.
  • Approval of the 2017 Education Programme, including an inaugural European Athletics Running Business Conference in Frankfurt in October 2017.