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 KingdomLord 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 at its first congress in Stockholm, Sweden by representatives from 17 national athletics federations as the International Amateur Athletics Federation. Since October 1993, it has been headquartered in Monaco.

Beginning in 1982, the IAAF passed several amendments to its rules allowing athletes to receive compensation for participation in international athletics competitions. However, the IAAF retained the word "amateur" in its name until its 2001 Congress at which the IAAF's name was changed to its current form.

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

In 2015 IAAF hit controversy when it was revealed that a third of medals (146, including 55 golds) in endurance events at the Olympics and World Championships between 2001 and 2012 were won by athletes who have recorded suspicious drug tests, but the IAAF had caught none of them.[2] Scientific expert Parisotto 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." The World Anti-Doping Agency said that it was "very disturbed by these new allegations" and would investigate.[3] Later in 2015 the IAAF was accused of suppressing an additional study that found that a third of the world's top athletes admitted violating anti-doping rules.[4]


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. [5][6][7]


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.[8][9]

     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)[10]
  • Youth (athletes aged 16 or 17 years on 31 December of the year of the competition)[10]


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]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ "Athletics: Sebastian Coe elected IAAF president". BBC Sport. Retrieved 19 August 2015. 
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^, Patriotic Games as a Breakthrough for the Olympic Movement, Ansgar Molzberger, The 1912 Stockholm Olympics: Essays on the Competitions, the People, the City, Edited by Leif Yttergren, Hans Bolling, p 226.
  6. ^, IAAF Presidential Election History, Jesse Squire, Daily Relay, August 18 2015.
  7. ^ 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.
  8. ^ "IAAF National Member Federations". Retrieved 2015-08-08. 
  9. ^
  10. ^ a b "BASIC INFORMATION GUIDE – 2011". Retrieved 31 January 2013. 

External links[edit]