Minsk set to host ‘Ryder Cup of athletics’

The Belarusian capital of Minsk is in pole position to stage a major new athletics event after the British Athletics governing body rejected a request to stage it at the London Stadium, according to the Press Association news agency.

The Europe versus US event, which is the brainchild of European Athletics president Svein Arne Hansen, has been tagged as the ‘Ryder Cup of athletics’ and has been earmarked for a debut in 2019.

The report said that British Athletics has other plans for the six-week window when the invitational event could take place. Further details of those plans are set to be revealed after the London Stadium – the centrepiece for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games – hosts the 2017 International Association of Athletics Federations World Championships in July.

Belarus, which will stage the second edition of the European Games multi-sport event in 2019, is said to be the only other city in the running.

“We had hoped that in 2016 we could publicly launch a Europe v USA match, but at the end of the year we were still not quite ready with all the arrangements,” Hansen said in a report released late last week.

“What we can say is that a host city has been secured for 2019, that contract discussions with USA Track and Field and the other necessary partners are moving ahead and that confirmation of the event is expected in 2017.”