World records: a thing of the past?

May 23, 2017

For those familiar with recent major sporting headlines, few will have missed this one.

The International Association of Athletics Federations (“IAAF”), the international governing body for athletics, is to debate proposals containing new ratification criteria for all athletes competing in approved international events. The new criteria will require the:

  1. Athlete to submit to an agreed number of doping control tests before competing in the event.
  2. Athlete’s urine and blood samples to be stored and made available for re-testing for up to 10 years after the event.

Since the IAAF has only stored these samples from 2005, the impact of this could be extraordinary. Many historical world records, such as Radcliffe’s 2003 marathon world record, Zelezny’s 1996 javelin throw, Powell’s long jump record in 1991 and El Guerrouj’s 1500m and 1-mile records in 1998 (amongst others) could be at risk of being declared “unofficial”, or even wiped from the record books entirely (a BBC article listing further examples at risk can be found here).

The proposals, put together by a project team commissioned by the European Athletics Council (“EAC”), are scheduled to be discussed when the IAAF meets in London in August. To date, the proposals have fuelled sensationalist media headlines and sparked criticism, major debate and threats of legal action.

To read our full article which discusses the motive and potential impact of the proposals, and reviews whether this is the best solution available click here

The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice.  We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.

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