History

The IAAF European Committee in 1934
European Athletics

The IAAF European Committee in 1934

European Athletics will celebrate its Golden Jubilee in 2020 and a new logo reflecting its 50th anniversary will be used throughout the year with the past five decades commemorated at the Convention in Tallinn next October.

However, the European Athletics can actually trace its origins back almost a century.

In 1932, what was then the International Amateur Athletics Federation (IAAF) created a special committee to explore the possibility of organising a European Championships in Athletics.

The following year, the IAAF Council appointed a permanent European Committee.

The Committee met for the first time in Budapest on 7 January 1934 and the first European Athletics Championships were staged later that year in Torino.

The Committee was subsequently elected every four years by the whole membership of the IAAF and then, from 1966, exclusively by the IAAF's European Member Federations.

Its remit in this era included expanding the European competition programme which it did by adding the European Cup, first staged in 1965 and later to become the present day European Athletics Team Championships and then the European Indoor Games, first staged in 1966 which later became the European Athletics Indoor Championships.

On 1 November 1969 at a meeting of the Committee in Bucharest, the Association of the European Members of the IAAF was formed and its Constitutional Rules were confirmed at the following year's IAAF Congress.

These Rules came into force at the first European Athletic Association Congress in Paris on 7 November 1970, after which the organisation was known as the European Athletic Association (EAA).

Opening ceremony of the 1934 European Athletics Championships
European Athletics
Opening ceremony of the 1934 European Athletics Championships

The EAA's role now includes the further development of the European competition programme - and it has been at the forefront of introducing continental age-group championships as well as competitions for specific disciplines such as the European 10,000m Cup and European Throwing Cup - the development of the sport at all levels in Europe and supporting its Member Federations.

The EAA was legally re-constituted in Switzerland in 2003 and the Headquarters were moved to Lausanne, effective 1 January 2004.

The association adopted the brand name European Athletics in 2004 following the move to Lausanne and a new Constitution, reflecting various changes to the organisational structure and working practices of the EAA, was adopted by an Extraordinary European Athletic Association Congress on 15 October 2005.

Svein Arne Hansen of Norway became the fifth President of European Athletics at the Bled Congress on 11 April 2015. He was re-elected at the 26th European Athletics Congress in Prague on 13 April 2019. He was re-elected for another four-year term in April 2019.

Previous Presidents were: Switzerland's Hansjörg Wirz, who served from 1999 to 2015. Finland’s Carl-Olaf Homen from 1987 to 1999, Great Britain's Arthur Gold from 1976 to 1987 and Adriaan Paulen of the Netherlands from 1970 to 1976.

In 2016, to accommodate the expansion of the European Athletics staff and activities, there was a move to larger premises in Lausanne, alongside the former offices.

European Athletics' membership considerably during the late 1980s and early 1990s following the political changes in central and eastern European during this period, growing from 34 Member Federations in 1987 to 49 in 1991. Currently, there are 51 Member Federations with the most recent addition being Kosovo in 2015.