Plans to reform athletics after repeated corruption and doping scandals have been backed by the IAAF, the sport’s embattled governing body.
The proposals, put forward by IAAF President Lord Coe, won the approval of 95% of countries that voted at a special congress held by the organisation in Monaco on Saturday.
Coe’s Time for Change package of reforms includes plans to establish a quasi-independent integrity unit to deal with cases of alleged doping and improve intelligence sharing, and a push to ensure that women are equally represented on the IAAF ruling council by 2023.
Additionally, council members – including the president – will be able serve no more than three four-year terms, while athletes will be handed greater representation on the council.
Addressing the special congress, Coe said: “Let me thank you for the confidence that you have shown the council today in the reform proposals that you have agreed to.
“This is a very important moment in the history of our sport. We’re putting in place a framework that should have been there years ago.
“It’s bad enough that any of this happened but it cannot happen for a second time, not on our watch, not on anyone else’s watch.
“Let’s not beat around the bush, our sport, our family, is under threat. Sitting out the fight is not an option.”
Ten countries voted against Coe’s proposals, including Gambia, Kazakhstan, Saudi Arabia, Laos, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Thailand.
Jamaica, Oman, Senegal, Ukraine and Uzbekistan abstained from voting on the reforms.
As well as limiting the presidency to a maximum 12-year term, Coe’s proposals place greater checks and balances on the position he now occupies after his predecessor admitted accepting more than €1.5 million in bribes to cover up Russian athletes’ use of banned substances. Lamine Diack was arrested in November 2015 on suspicion of money laundering and corruption after leading the IAAF for 16 years.
Diack’s arrest – along with a number of other IAAF officials – kicked off a series of scandals that rocked the sport, culminating in the publication of a World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) report in July that said Russia had run a state-sponsored doping programme for the previous four years. The report found that Russia’s FSB security service had been involved in the programme, developing methods to help athletes trick drug testers.
“Lamine Diack was responsible for organising and enabling the conspiracy and corruption that took place in the IAAF,” a second WADA report published in January said.
“He sanctioned and appears to have had personal knowledge of the fraud and the extortion of athletes carried out by the actions of the informal illegitimate governance structure he put in place.”