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European Athletics chief calls for return of World Championships in 2023

European Athletics president Svein Arne Hansen has called for the World Championships to be returned to Europe in 2023, with the continent about to embark on its longest period without staging the sport’s showpiece event.

The 2017 World Championships took place in London, England last month and the 2023 Championships are the next available for bidding, with the next two editions set to be staged in Doha, Qatar and the US city of Eugene in 2019 and 2021, respectively.

Doha 2019 and Eugene 2021 will mark the first time the showpiece event of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) has been held outside of Europe for two consecutive editions.

“I am convinced that we have to be in Europe in 2023 for the IAAF World Championships,” Hansen (pictured) said at a European Athletics Council meeting. “As shown by the spectacular success of the recent World Championships in London, Europe is the centre of the athletics world and our athletes and fans deserve the stage (that) we can provide in any number of cities in 2023.”

Kenyan Sports Minister Hassan Wario last month said the East African nation will bid to host the 2023 World Championships, adding that his country enhanced its claims by successfully hosting the IAAF’s 2017 World Under-18 Championships in Nairobi in July.

Confederation of African Athletics (CAA) president Hamad Kalkaba Malboum also called for Africa to be awarded the World Championships by 2025, adding that six countries, including Kenya, are capable of hosting the event.

Africa has never held the Championships, but Hansen believes it must return to Europe in 2023. He added: “The IAAF must follow these two editions by ensuring 2023 is awarded to a city in Europe, especially taking into account it has now switched to a more targeted approach to event allocation instead of official bidding.

“Everyone in our European Athletics family understands how important it is for our global showpiece event to be hosted on our continent at regular intervals. This not only provides the ideal stage for excellent performances from the world's top athletes but also has a positive impact on television audiences and commercial income.

“We need to keep developing the sport here in Europe and everyone agrees the World Championships is the best tool for doing so.”