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IAAF bans switching nationalities

CAPE TOWN – The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) has made it illegal to transfer nationalities following the 208th IAAF Council Meeting chaired by IAAF President Sebastian Coe held on Monday  at the Riviera Marriott Hotel, Cap d’Ail, France.

A working group, set up to study the subject area, will submit proposals for new rules as a matter of urgency and no later than the end of this year.

Monday’s decision does not affect the 15 applications for transfer which are already in process.

Sebastian Coe commented: “It has become abundantly clear with regular multiple transfers of athletes especially from Africa that the present rules are no longer fit for purpose. Athletics, which at its highest levels of competition is a championship sport based upon national teams, is particularly vulnerable in this respect. Furthermore, the present rules do not offer the protections necessary to the individual athletes involved and are open to abuse.”

Hamad Kalkaba Malboum, Africa Area Group Representative on the IAAF Council, who will drive this piece of work with the working group chaired by Mr Hiroshi Yokokawa, said: “The present situation is wrong. What we have is a wholesale market for African talent open to the highest bidder. Our present rules are being manipulated to the detriment of athletics’ credibility. Lots of the individual athletes concerned, many of whom are transferred at a young age, do not understand that they are forfeiting their nationality. This must end and a new way forward found which respects the athletes’ rights and the sports’ dignity.”

– African News Agency (ANA)

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