Gold turns to diamond as IAAF introduce new league in 2010

IAAF-LogoMonte Carlo - Athletics' controlling body IAAF said Monday that the Golden League would be scrapped and replaced by a new circuit called IAAF Diamond League starting in 2010.

In a statement released by the IAAF in Monte Carlo the organization said the new series would also be held outside Europe thereby meeting one of their strategic goals, which is to enhance the worldwide appeal of athletics.

"At present, 12 meetings have signed contracts to join the Diamond League, with 3 others on standby, which means that there will be competitions in Asia, Europe, the Middle East and the USA. The final composition of the league will be confirmed at the end of the 2009 season."

The IAAF said that athletes in 32 different events will have an opportunity to participate with the events being distributed among the different athletics.

"All 32 disciplines will have the same prize money with each meeting giving out 416,000 dollars. The biggest stars of the sport will be engaged with centralized contracts to ensure that the best athletes take part," they said.

As a special incentive each of the 32 events will have an IAAF Diamond Race, for which points will be awarded throughout the season. A four carat diamond (worth approximately 80,000 dollars) will be awarded to the athlete with the highest number of points.

"The IAAF Diamond League will play a key role in supporting the IAAF World Athletics Series of championships, as well as athletics at the Olympic Games, by building up interest in athletics in the period leading up to and immediately afterwards the main event," the organization said.

IAAF president Lamine Diack welcomed the announcement of the Diamond League, for which the international TV rights will be marketed by IMG.

"I am delighted that the IAAF, in close association with the meeting directors, has come up with a new professional circuit which will offer an easily understandable series of meetings to provide world class entertainment and also offer the maximum number of competition opportunities for a maximum number of athletes in different events.

"Thanks to the support of the meetings, we will be able to offer top class events that are based on solid financial foundations, provide the best organisational capability and serve to promote and develop the sport of athletics," he said.

Diamond League meetings have been confirmed for London, Lausanne, Oslo, Stockholm, Monaco, Paris St-Denis, Brussels, Eugene, New York and Zurich. There will also be further meetings in Britain and China.

Contracts for the meetings in Berlin, Rome and Qatar have not yet been signed. (dpa)