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Kenya Affected as IAAF freezes new transfers of allegiance

IAAF President Sebastian Coe

IAAF:The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) on Monday embargoed all new transfers of allegiance in athletics by exercising powers under its Constitution to revoke Competition Rules 5.2(b).

The other rules also embargoed are 5.4(d) and 5.4(e) with immediate effect.

The athletics world governing body disclosed the embargo in a statement after its 208th IAAF Council Meeting held at the Riviera Marriott Hotel, Cap d’Ail, France.

The statement said that the freezing of the transfer of allegiance followed a proposal by the IAAF President, Sebastian Coe. It said a working group has been set up to study the subject area and would submit proposals for new rules as a matter of urgency and not later than the end of 2017.

The statement quoted Coe as saying: “It has become abundantly clear with regular multiple transfers of athletes, especially from Africa that the present rules are no longer fit for the purpose.

“Athletics, which at its highest levels of competition is a championship sport based upon national teams, is particularly vulnerable in this respect. “Furthermore, the present rules do not offer the protection necessary to the individual athletes involved and are open to abuse,’’ it said.

It said that the decision did not affect the 15 applications for transfer which were already in process. It added that Hamad Kalkaba Malboum, Africa Area Group Representative on the IAAF Council, would drive the piece of work with the working group chaired by Mr Hiroshi Yokokawa.

It quoted Malboum, the President of Confederation of African Athletics (CAA) as saying: “The present situation is wrong. What we have is a wholesale market for African talents open to the highest bidder. “Our present rules are being manipulated to the detriment of athletics’ credibility. “Lots of the individual athletes concerned, many of whom are transferred at a young age, do not understand that they are forfeiting their nationality. “This must end and a new way forward found which respects the athletes’ rights and the sports’ dignity,’’ it said.

Kenya is among the countries that have been greatly hit by the move as it emerged that Kenyan athletes choose to switch their Nationalities to Bahrain, the gulf states, Turkey and the United States of America.