The International Association of Athletics Federations has today (Tuesday) awarded its 2023 World Championships to Budapest, while opting to retain its suspension of the Russian Athletics Federation (RusAF).
The decision marks the first time Hungary will host the event, having bid for multiple editions – most recently 2017 – in the past. The capital has a strong athletics background, hosting the European Championships in 1966 and 1998, as well as the IAAF World Indoor Championships in 1989 and 2004.
Balázs Fürjes, Government Commissioner for International Sport Bids in Hungary, said: “Our goal is for Budapest to host the most successful Athletics World Championships ever. The benefit of the event will be shown for years and decades beyond the sporting impact.
“The World Championships creates jobs, generates tens of billions of forint directly, as well as indirect revenues for the Hungarian economy and people. It also gives impetus to Dél-Pest and the urban development of Észak-Csepel.”
The Championships will be staged at the new 40,000-seat National Athletics Centre, which is currently in the planning phase and will be downgraded to a 15,000 capacity after the event. The new stadium will be built on the eastern bank of the Danube river on the city’s south side.
IAAF president Sebastian Coe said: “We are delighted to award the 2023 World Athletics Championships to Budapest in Hungary, a country of extraordinary athletic tradition and great experience in organising world-class sports events.
“It has been the scene of some of our greatest moments as a sport. We are excited about their plans for a new stadium that will become a great legacy for athletics.”
Budapest was lined up as the host after being identified by the IAAF in July as the preferred host under a new model that replaced the traditional bidding campaign with a consultation process.
Marton Gyulai, chief executive of the Bid Committee for Budapest 2023, said: “We have been trying to become a partner for the IAAF as opposed to just a bidding city. As part of that process we have also been able to offer advice on seeing from the outside of things how things can be fine-tuned.”
Following next year’s event in Doha, Qatar, the Championships will be held in the US city of Eugene in 2021 before heading to Budapest.
Russia’s status within the athletics movement was also on the agenda at today’s IAAF Council meeting in Monaco. Russia’s ban was first imposed in November 2015 after the McLaren report uncovered widespread doping in the country’s sporting system.
While the International Olympic Committee and World Anti-Doping Agency have both reinstated Russia, the latter on a provisional basis, the IAAF has continued to maintain that Russia must accede to two key demands. These are: 1) it must acknowledge the findings of the Wada-commissioned McLaren report, that doping in the country was state-sponsored, and 2) must also provide access to the data from testing of samples at the Moscow laboratory of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (Rusada) from 2011-2015.
The IAAF Council today accepted its Russia Taskforce’s recommendation not to reinstate RusAF until the two conditions have been met in full.
The IAAF is also demanding that RusAF pay all of the costs incurred in the work of the Taskforce and in bringing or defending Russian cases at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
An IAAF statement read: “The Taskforce hopes that RusAF and the Russian authorities will now take all steps necessary to meet these conditions as soon as possible. The Taskforce stands ready to meet as soon as these conditions have been met in order to make a recommendation to Council for the reinstatement of RusAF.”