International Association of Athletics Federations

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International Association of Athletics Federations
International Association of Athletics Federations logo.svg
Formation 17 July 1912
Type Sports federation
Headquarters Monaco
214 member federations
United KingdomSebastian Coe

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) is the international governing body for the sport of athletics. It was founded on 17 July 1912 as the International Amateur Athletics Federation by representatives from 17 national athletics federations at the organization's first congress in Stockholm, Sweden. Since October 1993, it has been headquartered in Monaco.

Beginning in 1982, the IAAF passed several amendments to its rules to allow athletes to receive compensation for participating in international competitions. However, the organization retained the word amateur in its name until its 2001 congress, at which it changed its name to International Association of Athletics Federations.

The IAAF's president is Sebastian Coe of the United Kingdom. He was elected at the 2015 congress before the 2015 World Championships in Athletics in Beijing, China.[1]

In 2015, a whistleblower leaked IAAF's blood test records from major competitions. The records revealed that, between 2001 and 2012, athletes with suspicious drug test results won a third of the medals in endurance events at the Olympics and World Championships—a total of 146 medals including 55 golds—but the IAAF caught none of them.[2] After reviewing the results, Robin Parisotto, a scientist and leading "anti-doping" expert, said, "Never have I seen such an alarmingly abnormal set of blood values. So many athletes appear to have doped with impunity, and it is damning that the IAAF appears to have idly sat by and let this happen."[2] Craig Reedie, president of the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada), said his organisation was "very disturbed by these new allegations ... which will, once again, shake the foundation of clean athletes worldwide", and that its "independent commission will investigate the claims".[2]

Around the same time, the University of Tübingen in Germany claimed that the IAAF suppressed publication of a 2011 report in which "[h]undreds of athletes", as many as a third of the world's top athletes, "admitted violating anti-doping rules".[3]

On 1 November 2015, former IAAF president Lamine Diack was arrested in France and is under investigation on suspicion of corruption and money laundering.[4][5] Diack allegedly accepted "$1.2 million from the Russian athletics federation to cover up the positive doping tests of at least six Russian athletes in 2011."[4]

In November 2015, Wada published its report, which found "systemic failures" in the IAAF had prevented an "effective" anti-doping programme and concluded that Russia should be banned from competing in international competitions because of its athletes' test results.[6]


The process to found the IAAF was started at a meeting in Stockholm, Sweden on July 17 1912 soon after the completion of the 1912 Summer Olympics in that city. Here 27 representatives from 17 national federations agreed to meet at a congress in Germany the following year overseen by Sigfrid Edström who was to become the fledgling organisation's first president. The congress that started on August 20 1913 in Berlin is when the foundation of the IAAF was formally completed.[7][8][9]


IAAF Council Members gathered for the 2014 IAAF Council Meeting

Since the establishment of the IAAF, it has had six presidents:

Name Country Presidency
Sigfrid Edström  Sweden 1912–1946
Lord Burghley (later Lord Exeter)  United Kingdom 1946–1976
Adriaan Paulen  Netherlands 1976–1981
Primo Nebiolo  Italy 1981–1999
Lamine Diack  Senegal 1999–2015
Lord Coe  United Kingdom 2015–

Area associations[edit]

Map of world with six area associations

The IAAF has a total of 214 member federations divided into 6 area associations.[10][11]

     AAA – Asian Athletics Association in Asia
     CAA – Confederation of African Athletics in Africa
     CONSUDATLE – Confederación Sudamericana de Atletismo in South America
     EAA – European Athletic Association in Europe
     NACACAA – North American, Central American and Caribbean Athletic Association in North America
     OAA – Oceania Athletics Association in Oceania

Age categories[edit]

  • Senior (all the athletes over 20 years old) (age-group competition over age 35 has become the domain of World Masters Athletics)
  • Junior (athletes aged 18 or 19 years on 31 December of the year of the competition)[12]
  • Youth (athletes aged 16 or 17 years on 31 December of the year of the competition)[12]


Included in its charge are the standardization of timekeeping methods and world records. The IAAF also organizes many major athletics competitions worldwide, including:

World Athletics Series[edit]

The World Championships in Athletics is the foremost athletics competition held by the IAAF.
Competition Frequency Established
IAAF World Championships in Athletics Every two years 1983
IAAF World Indoor Championships in Athletics Every two years 1985
IAAF World Cross Country Championships Every two years 1973
IAAF World Half Marathon Championships Every two years 1992
IAAF World Junior Championships in Athletics Every two years 1986
IAAF World Youth Championships in Athletics Every two years 1999
IAAF World Race Walking Cup Every two years 1961
IAAF World Marathon Cup Every two years 1985
IAAF Continental Cup Every four years 1977
IAAF World Relays Every year 2014
† = Formerly IAAF World Cup

One-day events[edit]

Competition Established
IAAF Diamond League 2010
IAAF World Challenge Meetings 2010
IAAF Indoor Permit Meetings 2010
IAAF Label Road Races
IAAF Cross Country Permit Meetings
IAAF World Combined Events Challenge 1998
IAAF World Race Walking Challenge 2003

IAAF Road Race Label Events[edit]


Competition Last held
IAAF World Road Running Championships 2007
IAAF World Road Relay Championships 1998
IAAF World Athletics Tour 2009
IAAF Golden League 2009
IAAF Super Grand Prix 2009
IAAF Grand Prix 2009
IAAF Grand Prix Final 2002
IAAF World Athletics Final 2009
IAAF World Cross Challenge 2000

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Athletics: Sebastian Coe Elected IAAF President". BBC Sport: Athletics. 19 August 2015. Retrieved 21 November 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c Roan, Dan (2 August 2015). "Leaked IAAF Doping Files: Wada 'Very Alarmed' by Allegations". BBC Sport: Athletics. Retrieved 21 November 2015. 
  3. ^ "IAAF Accused of Suppressing Athletes' Doping Study". BBC Sport: Athletics. 16 August 2015. Retrieved 21 November 2015. 
  4. ^ a b "Former IAAF President Under Criminal Investigation for Doping Cover-Up". Sports Illustrated. 4 November 2015. Retrieved 21 November 2015. 
  5. ^ "Athletics doping: Interpol to co-ordinate probe". BBC News. 9 November 2015. Retrieved 19 November 2015. 
  6. ^ "Athletics Doping: Wada Report Calls for Russia Ban". BBC Sport: Athletics. 9 November 2015. Retrieved 21 November 2015. 
  7. ^ Reprint (page 226) at Google Books UK (
      The 1912 Stockholm Olympics: Essays on the Competitions, the People, the City, eds. Leif Yttergren and Hans Bolling, Jefferson NC and London: McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers, 2012. ISBN 978-0-7864-7131-7.
      Translated from the Swedish: Stockholmsolympiaden 1912 (Stockholm: Stockholmia, 2012).
  8. ^ "IAAF Presidential Election History". Jesse Squire, Daily Relay, 18 August 2015.
  9. ^ "The Beginning of the IAAF: A study of its background and foundation". Dr. Hans Bolling, (adviser: Prof. em. Jan Lindroth), Stockholm/Sweden 2007. Retrieved 18 September 2015.
  10. ^ "IAAF National Member Federations". Retrieved 8 August 2015. 
  11. ^ IAAF.[dead link]
  12. ^ a b "Basic Information Guide: 2011 IAAF World Cross Country Championships, Punta Umbria, Spain". IAAF. 10 September 2010. Retrieved 31 January 2013. 

External links[edit]