Svein Arne Hansen says it is a “dark and sad time for athletics” but that the sport “will emerge stronger in the future”

The president of European Athletics, Svein Arne Hansen, believes that athletics “will emerge stronger in the future” after what he described as a “dark and sad time” for the sport.

Hansen was speaking following a meeting of the European Athletics Council and nine current or past European members of the IAAF Council.

“At the top of today’s agenda was integrity in athletics, specifically the extremely serious allegations relating to doping and corruption that are currently being addressed by the IAAF, the French authorities, WADA and others,” said the president, who has held the top role at European Athletics since his election in April.

“We heard reports from members of the previous IAAF Council and a representative of the Russian athletics federation, which helped to clarify many points about what has been known and done in the past.”

Hansen also spoke of the meeting participants having “full confidence” in International Association of Athletics Federations president Seb Coe’s leadership, but added that there should be “a complete review and any necessary changes to the governance of the IAAF with the aim of eliminating future possibilities for corruption.”

“It was agreed that this is a dark and sad time for athletics,” said Hansen. “Although such problems are not unique to our sport or organisations, what we are learning from various sources and what is likely to emerge in the future are extremely disappointing and against all the values and ideals we hold.

“However, we are heartened by the thought that once we know all the facts we will have a unique opportunity to take appropriate action, implement necessary reforms and start to rebuild the credibility of our sport.

“The meeting participants also agreed unanimously to give our full backing and support to the IAAF president Sebastian Coe in his efforts to lead the sport through the difficult and complicated process ahead. We are aware that it will take time and there will be many challenges, but we have full confidence in president Coe’s leadership.”

He added: “By standing together and upholding all our values, we can and will work through the current difficulties and athletics will emerge stronger in the future.”

Meanwhile, on Monday European Athletics announced that the 2017 European Athletics Team Championships Super League has been awarded to the French city of Lille, while the 2017 SPAR European Cross Country Championships will be held in the Slovakian city of Samorin.

Lille was the sole candidate to host the team event, while Samorin received 12 Council votes compared to three for Dublin to win the cross-country meeting.