President Svein Arne Hansen praised this weekend’s European Athletics Team Championships before saying he would ask his Event & Competition Commission to look at restructuring the competition to make it even more appealing for spectators and television.
“Cheboksary 2015 was an excellent championships with a lot of great performances but for me it is clear that the Super League should go back to eight teams like the old European Cup from the current 12 teams,” said President Hansen.
“The 12-team format with two heats is just not as engaging for the fans. If we could change back, which I will ask our Event & Competition Commission to look at, I think it will make for a shorter, more exciting, easier-to-follow program.
“In my opinion, we should also look at ways of shortening the program further and showcasing the field events a little more. We could have the likes of the shot put competition in the city centre and the hammer and discus in the stadium on the Friday.
“We have got a good event for television with the European Athletics Team Championships, with men’s and women’s combined teams and promotion and relegation battles, but I think with some restructuring it could be much better.”
Broadcasters from 15 European countries were scheduled to televise the top league. In addition, pan-European channel Eurosport showed the championships live across its 59 territories. The final broadcast intentions from the European Broadcasting Union confirmed 110 live hours of intended TV coverage. Seven international broadcasters were also set to show the 1st League in Heraklion.
“I want fresh thinking, to come up with innovative ideas to improve the championships. How about the First League reduced to eight teams as well? Who knows? We could have the top two leagues hosted in the same stadium over four sessions – First League in the morning and Super League in the afternoon. That would really accentuate the promotion and relegation battle between the two leagues and be a fantastic event for the athletes, fans and media. It would also ensure we have the highest levels of quality for the First League in terms of television production, event presentation, results and timing.”
The European Athletics Team Championships returns in 2017 with no event taking place in the Olympic year.