European Athletics hopeful on Paris 2020 but will study alternatives

Action from 2019 meeting de Paris of IAAF Diamond League at Stade Charlety (Photo by Jorge Luis Alvarez Pupo/Getty Images)

The executive board of European Athletics, the sport’s European governing body, has requested a feasibility study is carried out to see if the 2020 European Athletics Championships can continue as planned in Paris.

The event is scheduled for August 25 to 30 at Paris’ Charlety Stadium but is in doubt due to the global spread of the Covid-19 virus and the mass postponement or cancellation of various sports events.

The executive board held a two-hour video conference meeting yesterday (Wednesday) and will make the feasibility request to the Paris 2020 organising committee.

European Athletics said: “The executive board received an update on the current preparations from the LOC [local organising committee], which reported that their work has been severely compromised by France’s national shutdown of non-essential activities in response to the worldwide coronavirus [Covid-19] pandemic.

“While preparations for Paris 2020 continue fully as planned and according to schedule, a study of possible alternative scenarios for hosting was requested, including potential postponement, and taking into account all the stakeholder opinions including those of partners, athletes as well as related national and local government authorities in France.”

Dobromir Karamarinov, European Athletics’ first vice-president and interim president following the stroke suffered by Svein Arne Hansen, led the meeting.

He said: “It is clear we are currently living in unprecedented times that require us to be flexible, open-minded and realistic. Above all, the health and safety of the athletes, officials, fans, volunteers, staff and everyone involved in European athletics must be our very top priority.”

Periklis Iakovakis, chairman of the Athletes Committee, added: “To have the light at the end of the tunnel that Paris 2020 may still go ahead is something positive in these extremely hard times. This has been a stressful and confusing period for athletes, we have lost our structure and our sense of normality. We join our larger communities in focusing on the health and well-being of everyone during the Covid-19 outbreak.”

Meanwhile, the executive board has agreed with the relevant local organising committees to postpone both the European 10,000m Cup and European Mountain Running Championships to 2021.

The European Athletics under-18 Championships, which were scheduled for July 16 to 19 July in Rieti, Italy will now not take place in 2020. Any new date for the event is to be communicated in due course. The Leiria 2020 European Throwing Cup, originally scheduled for March 21 to 22 in Portugal and postponed earlier this month, has now been cancelled.