Lord Coe Suggests IPL-style Auctions, Franchises and Pop-up Tracks Could Be Future of Athletics

Image of IAAF President Lord Sebastian Coe

ATHLETICS could introduce an Indian Premier League-style auction and city franchises as part of a radical overhaul of the sport, Lord Coe revealed on Wednesday.

Image of IAAF President Lord Sebastian Coe
IAAF President Lord Sebastian Coe

Major races could also take place on pop-up 200-metre tracks inside football grounds and entire events could be cut from the World Championships, with International Association of Athletics Federations president Coe declaring: “Everything is on the table.”

Coe said athletics need to have a “possibly uncomfortable set of conversations” in order to secure its future, admitting there were aspects of the sport that were holding it back.

Speaking at the Leaders Sport Business Summit, he said: “Over the next year, our relentless focus on formats and the changes that we make in the sport has to be absolutely laser-like.

“I’m not ruling, frankly, anything out now. I think everything is on the table, and there are some things that I want to look at.

“Just a simple thing: why are we wedded to a 400-metre track all the time?

“Why can we not have pop-up tracks, 300-metre tracks, in football stadiums, taking the sport to where we can seat people without necessarily having to be a championships stadium?

“There are lots of things that we can do. What about teams, cities, franchises? What about having the excitement of the draft, the pick, the IPL auction? Those are the things that I really want to have on the table. And I don’t want to take them off the table.

“We need to have some early-hours moments of unease about what we are prepared to do and I think we have to be radical.”

Coe confirmed some changes could be ratified in time for the next World Championships in 2019.

He said: “You take on full-frontal some of the arguments from the disciplines themselves, you will take on some of the arguments around gender.”

“You’re going to have to challenge a lot of the orthodoxies.

“We have a World Championships which is fabulous. London was fabulous. But is that sensible over 10 days anymore?”

He added: “Do we have less athletes in a World Championships? Do we concertina the World Championships to semis and finals?

“These are the things that are on the table and I, frankly, don’t want to remove them until we’ve had, really, at times, possibly uncomfortable set of conversations.

“We really need a deep dive over the next two years so that we really do understand what that sport can look like and set it on the way for the next 30 years.”

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