Svein Arne Hansen says governing body is to consider tougher penalties for doping offences and a European records review

The president of European Athletics, Svein Arne Hansen, has released a detailed position statement in which he says a “cultural revolution” is required within the sport.

Tougher penalties for doping offences and a European records review are among the proposals and initiatives to which European Athletics will be “committing time and resources”, Hansen has said.

The statement comes after the release earlier this week of Hansen’s 2015 activity report and also follows the publication on Monday of UK Athletics’ “Manifesto for Clean Athletics” which included suggestions such as resetting world records, issuing longer bans for serious doping offences and the introduction of a public global register of all drugs tests.

“Since I became president, we have started to work together on the many changes needed to transform our organisation, secure its future and help position ourselves for long-term success but we have also had to face some very serious challenges to our sport’s integrity and image,” said Hansen.

“Like everyone in athletics, I am gravely concerned and saddened by the recent WADA report on systemic doping in Russia, the serious corruption allegations against some former IAAF officials and the other scandals that seem to surface on a daily basis.  Although European Athletics has not been implicated in any way and these issues are not unique to athletics, the public image and reputation of our sport have been tarnished and this, of course, touches all of us.

“When the second WADA report is released, we will carefully study it and any recommendations it contains. If immediate comments are called for, we will make them. Then, in light of the report, we will take our time to review the projects and proposals we have put forward and make any adjustments or additions required.”

Hansen added: “We have full confidence that IAAF president Sebastian Coe is the right man for the current challenges, and European Athletics will give him the backing and support he needs.”

Hansen’s full statement, entitled ‘Integrity in Athletics’, can be read here. On the idea of reviewing the European records, in line with the UKA proposal for world records which was detailed on Monday, Hansen wrote: “The recent scandals have reopened the discussion about the legitimacy of certain records in our sport. These link us to a past in which neither we nor the public can have full confidence.

“Over the years different approaches for addressing this question have been proposed but the issue is very complex and so far nothing has happened. It is clear that now the situation is different.

“We will set up a special project team in the coming months to look again at what is best for the sport and possibly a new approach to records in Europe that could be an example for the IAAF and our Member Federations. We will also review the lists of all past award winners, like our European Athlete of the Year or our Coaching Awards, to see if action needs to be taken.”

As well as the European records review and a call to the IAAF and WADA to implement tougher penalties for doping offences, Hansen also gives details on other initiatives in his statement, including ‘I Run Clean’ which saw athletes wear that statement on their bibs at the European Cross Country Championships in December, a governance compliance audit for European Athletics, anti-doping education and the assessment and monitoring of national anti-doping systems.

Click here to read Hansen’s full statement, ‘Integrity in Athletics’.