$500,000 fund has been created to help professional athletes experiencing financial hardship due to the coronavirus pandemic

The eligibility criteria and application process for athletes seeking support through a World Athletics and International Athletics Foundation (IAF) fund has been published.

Last month athletics’ global governing body announced that a US$500,000 welfare fund had been created to support professional athletes who have lost a substantial part of their income due to the suspension of international competition this year as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

A working group was formed to oversee the distribution of the funds and World Athletics president Sebastian Coe, who chairs the working group, said: “The IAF has allocated a substantial sum to the fund, and we hope to raise more through private donations from friends of our sport, but it has become apparent that the resources must be focused on athletes who are likely to be competing at the Olympic Games in Tokyo next year and are now struggling to pay for basic necessities due to loss of income during the pandemic.

“We know this is a stressful situation for many athletes and we are trying to provide meaningful assistance to as many as possible as quickly as possible so they can continue to train for the competition season we have now scheduled for August to October, and for next year’s Olympics.”

World Athletics said: “The fund will support athletes who have met the Tokyo Olympic Games entry standard and will provide welfare grants to be used to cover basic living expenses. The level of grant will be dependent on the number of approved applications and up to a maximum of US$4000. It is anticipated that the grants will be distributed directly to athletes from June.

“Only athletes who have been impacted financially to the extent that they are unable to maintain their basic standard of living should apply.”

The governing body released the following eligibility criteria:

  • Must be qualified (by meeting the entry standard) for selection for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games
  • Must have never had an anti-doping rule violation
  • Must be able to demonstrate a justifiable welfare need through significant loss of income in 2020 compared to 2019

World Athletics added that the following athletes will not be eligible to apply:

  • Those ranked in the top 6 in their event in the World Athletics World Rankings
  • Those who have finished in the top 6 positions of any Gold Label Road Race in 2019
  • Those who have earned more than USD$6,000 in prize money from the Diamond League in 2019

“Athletes who, throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, continue to receive an annual grant from their Government, National Olympic Committee, Member Federation or sponsors are not expected to apply unless they can demonstrate a justifiable welfare need as detailed above,” continued World Athletics.

Athletes seeking support can register here until May 31.

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