Regional athletics bosses back new IAAF transfer rules

By July 30, 2018

Regional track and field bosses seem to be fully behind the new IAAF rules that have clamped down on the ease with which athletes are able to transfer their allegiance to another country. 

Under the new rules, those who wish to transfer allegiance will have to wait three years and they have to be over the age of 20. These are just some of the changes agreed to during the recent meeting of the IAAF Council in Buenos Aries in Argentina.

In February 2017, the Council froze the rule to give itself time to develop a solution to the growing problem of athlete trafficking. In the recent years, a number of Caribbean athletes have transferred allegiance to other countries. They include Winston Barnes and Jacques Harvey, Andrew Fisher and Kemarley Brown. Barnes and Harvey now represent Turkey while Fisher and Brown represent Bahrain.

Sprinter Miguel Francis formerly of Antigua and Barbuda also assumed British citizenship while sprinter hurdler Orlando Ortega switched allegiance to Spain and triple jumper Pablo Pichardo is now representing Portugal.

Going forward the ease with which these transfers took place will come to an end.

Under the new dispensation, there will be a minimum three-year waiting period before an athlete may transfer to represent another Member; a review panel will be established to make determinations on the credibility of applications and there will be a requirement for the provision of evidence that countries are offering full citizenship and associated rights.

An athlete can only transfer once and no transfers can take place before the age of 20.

The new rules will be sent to Member Federations and posted on the IAAF website.

So far, the new rules are being embraced by federations heads across the region.

President of the Jamaica Athletic Administrative Association believes the new rules will help prevent the exploitation of athletes.

“There are countries, while they have programmes, seeking to attract athletes from other countries by large sums of money. But as soon as they stop running (representing), their new countries have nothing to do with them. The federation supports this stance, as it protects federations and athletes," Blake told The Jamaica Gleaner.

“In Africa especially Ethiopians and Kenyans, who switch to countries like Bahrain, they are not made citizens; they are given a passport that enables them to compete, but if they lose the ability to run, the passport is removed. So this (ruling) protects them from countries just interested in getting medals by any means.”

President of Trinidad and Tobago’s National Association of Athletic Associations (NAAA) Ephraim Serette told SportsMax.TV that he is especially pleased about the rule that prevents athletes below the age of 20 from transferring allegiance.

“I am in agreement with the new rules,” he said. “Some countries are targeting junior athletes, now they cannot do it unless they are over 20 years old. I am very much in agreement with that.”


Leighton Levy

Leighton Levy is a journalist with 28 years’ experience covering crime, entertainment, and sports. He joined the staff at SportsMax.TV as a content editor two years ago and is enjoying the experience of developing sports content and new ideas. At he is pursuing his true passion - sports.

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