European criticises IAAF over Championships host

European Athletics president Svein Arne Hansen has criticised the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) over a “complete lack of process” in its selection of Eugene as host of the 2021 World Championships.

The IAAF went against usual protocols to award the event to the American city – which missed out missed out on the 2019 edition to Doha – without launching a formal bidding process.

“I would like to congratulate USA Track and Field and Vin Lananna, who has led Eugene’s bid, but I must say I am very surprised by the complete lack of process in the decision the IAAF has taken,” said Hansen.

Hansen’s remarks followed comments emerging from the Swedish Athletics Federation, which claims the IAAF was aware of its intention to host the championships in Gothenburg.

“We are deeply disappointed and cursing at how this has played out and this is not fair play,” said Swedish Athletics Federation president Bjorn Eriksson. “At least we had expected to submit a serious bid, according to the principles the IAAF sets out in its guidelines.”

Hansen – in his first week as European Athletics president – added: “The IAAF knew that Gothenburg was a serious candidate for the 2021 World Championships. Swedish Athletics and the city had put in a lot of effort over the years to prepare the bidding application but they have not even been given the chance to bid for the event.

“I have already spoken to Swedish Athletics Federation President Bjorn Eriksson and he is deeply disappointed about what has happened.

“I completely understand the disappointment of Bjorn and Goteborg and Co. CEO Camilla Nyman. I know that 2021 was the most important year for the city because it is when they will celebrate their 400th anniversary.

“This type of decision would just not happen within European Athletics as we have a comprehensive bidding process that all candidates must follow.”