Athletics needs a cultural revolution – European chief says

European athletics chief Svein Arne Hansen has called for a “cultural revolution” to overcome the doping and governance crisis in the sport, seeking harsher sanctions for cheats and a review of records on the continent.

In a position statement named “Integrity in Athletics” and published on Wednesday, the European Athletics Association (EAA) president Hansen said that four-year bans for serious first-time offenders are not enough.

Hansen said that life bans for a first grave offence are not possible for legal reasons but the sanction should “make it highly unlikely a guilty athlete can return to an elite career.”

The EAA will also look at “a new approach to records in Europe,” a long-standing issue which “link us to a past in which neither we nor the public can have full confidence.

“We are experiencing events of a seismic nature and they are rocking the very foundations of how our sport is organised and governed,” he said. “A cultural revolution will be required for athletics to rebuild its reputation and bring the sport’s governance to where it needs to be.”

Hansen’s statement came the day before Thursday’s planned release of the second part of a World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) independent commission report on doping in athletics. It is to deal with corruption within the world governing body IAAF and reports from ARD network and Britain’s Sunday Times paper last summer on a leaked blood database. GNA

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