European Athletics president and World Athletics Council member Svein Arne Hansen has suffered a serious stroke and is receiving intensive care at a local hospital.
European Athletics chief executive Christian Milz said in a statement: “Doctors have not yet given a detailed prognosis about his recovery, but it is expected that he will remain in the hospital for at least one week and then undergo a significant period of rehabilitation.”
Milz added that Hansen had also been tested for the presence of the Covid-19 virus after his admission to hospital and the tests were negative.
The European Athletics Executive Board will hold a conference call early next week to discuss sharing Hansen’s presidential duties during his period of incapacity in accordance with its constitution.
The organisation said it would keep member federations informed about the situation and publish regular updates on Hansen’s health. It also said it had notified World Athletics, of which Hansen is a Council member.
Last April, Hansen, 73, was re-elected unopposed as the president of European Athletics for a second term from 2019 to 2023 at the European Athletics Congress in Prague.
The Norwegian was a key figure in the organisation of the first multi-sport European Championships co-hosted by Glasgow and Berlin in 2018, as one of two co-chairs of the board alongside Paolo Barelli, the president of the Ligue Européenne de Natation (LEN), aquatics’ European body.
Milz said: “I have no doubt that Svein Arne’s countless friends around the world share the deep concern of the European Athletics family, including the Council and headquarters staff, as we monitor developments.
“Our thoughts are with his wife, Jannicke, their children and grandchildren, at this time.”