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IAAF revises Diamond League plan, adds new tour and China meet

(Photo by Jorge Luis Alvarez Pupo/Getty Images)

The International Association of Athletics Federations has revised a plan announced earlier this year to cut the number of Diamond League events in 2020, and will instead launch a new second-tier tour and add an extra meet in China.

The IAAF has been considering changes to the annual series designed to enhance its attractiveness to fans and broadcasters. In March, the IAAF Council approved changes including cutting the number of events from 15 to 13, cutting the number of disciplines from 32 to 24, and limiting the length of each broadcast to 90 minutes. These changes were the result of a year-long review that included research and discussions with athletes, coaches, fans and broadcasters.

Yesterday, the Diamond League General Assembly reversed some of the plans, announcing there would be 15 meetings next season, including a new event in China. The number of disciplines at each event will still be limited, to either 11 or 12. A new, second-tier tour of international one-day meetings will be launched that will focus on the disciplines that don’t feature regularly in the Diamond League.

The new tour will be called the World Athletics Continental Tour. In a press release, the IAAF said it “will provide world-class competition, top flight world ranking points and earning opportunities for many more athletes…and will be broadcast around the world.”

The plan to limit Diamond League broadcasts to 90 minutes remains, although “further work is being undertaken on whether each meeting is able to host 11 or 12 Diamond League disciplines in the set time frame and which events each meeting will host outside the 90-minute broadcast window”.

Sebastian Coe, the IAAF president and chairman of the Diamond League Board, said: “The Diamond League is our shop window and we want to attract new fans with a fast, action-packed format that is commercially attractive to broadcasters and partners. That approach has already been endorsed by our new title sponsor Wanda.

“I am delighted that the Diamond League meetings have chosen to actively support the creation of the World Athletics Continental Tour as this will enable us to maintain strong international competition opportunities for all our world class athletes as they come through their continental structures.”

All the existing Diamond League meetings have retained their places for 2020, with the exception of Birmingham, England, where the stadium is being redeveloped for the 2022 Commonwealth Games. The meeting has been shifted to Gateshead, England. The full calendar for 2020 is as follows:

  • Doha – 17 April
  • China (venue to be advised) – 10 May
  • Shanghai – 16 May
  • Stockholm – 24 May
  • Rome – 28 May
  • Rabat – 31 May
  • Eugene – 7 June
  • Oslo – 11 June
  • Paris – 13 June
  • London – 4 July
  • Monaco – 10 July
  • Gateshead – 16 August
  • Lausanne – 20 August
  • Brussels – 4 September
  • Zurich – 11 September