After an IAAF Diamond League Board meeting earlier this morning in Doha, the IAAF have announced significant changes to the event structure from 2020 onwards. This comes just 53 days before the first meeting of the Diamond League schedule in Doha, where the World Championships will also be held later in October.
Currently, the prestigious league incorporates 14 meetings; Doha, Shanghai, Stockholm, Rome, Oslo, Rabat, Eugene, Lausanne, Monaco, London, Birmingham, Paris, and two finals in Zurich and Brussels at the end of the season. There are also currently 16 male and 16 female disciplines in the league.
However, now into its 10th season as the Diamond League, IAAF have released adjustments to guarantee its continued success. This comes after thorough research was collected from the athletics world, with main motivations to adjust the league being to;
-give world-class athletes a reason and incentives to want to compete
-provide an action packed schedule for broadcasters
-offer a compelling reason for fans to watch.
The IAAF hinted a rejuvention of the league at the end of the 2018 season, stating that “the IAAF received progress reports on plans to revamp the Diamond League, which the Council agreed was vital to the sport remaining relevant to the athletes and fans”, so it’s no surprise that we’re seeing changes being implemented.
During the meeting, president of the IAAF, Lord Sebastian Coe, stated that he wanted to “continue to attract the best athletes” but to also continue to make athletics a “compelling, easy to follow and understandable” sport for spectators, making it a “catalyst for more stars to emerge” in the future. He went on to say that the league is “the way millions of sports fans engage with athletes on a top level every year”.
Changes to the league in 2020 will therefore include;
Reducing the 14 meeting circuit to 12 and reducing the number of disciplines on offer to 12 male and 12 female events, with the 3000m being the longest event. Other refinements include having just one final to conclude the season (instead of two). There has currently been no confirmation as to which two meetings will not be included in the circuit.
CEO of the IAAF, John Ridgeon, was eager to highlight that after much research, the market thought it more compelling and sensational to have one final at the end of the season, to ensure maximum viewership and engagement. He also emphasised a renewed focus on field events, pointing out that often many are lost in the show going on quite literally around them. Therefore, more meetings in the 2020 Diamond League season and beyond will see more fields events being showcased out of the arena, in city centre locations, bringing life and attraction to field events.
Other adjustments to the league include the usage of the newly implemented world rankings to encourage athletes at the very top to battle it out head-to-head on the Diamond League circuit.
It has also been confirmed that winners of the final at the end of the season will automatically qualify for the World Championships, so again, its a great incentive for world-class athletes to be involved.
This is great news for the sport and the future of the league, which as we said, is now in to its 10th year.