Svein Arne Hansen European athletics boss acknowledges record-plan critics

The project is part of European Athletics' drive to set a clean slate in the fight against doping.

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President of the European Athletic Association, Svein Arne Hansen delivers a keynote speech during a Sport Integrity Global Alliance (SIGA) conference in the city of London on January 30, 2017 play

President of the European Athletic Association, Svein Arne Hansen delivers a keynote speech during a Sport Integrity Global Alliance (SIGA) conference in the city of London on January 30, 2017

(AFP/File)
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European athletics president Svein Arne Hansen accepted Tuesday reaction to the radical plan to wipe out existing European and world records has been "mixed".

Under the proposal put forward to athletics governing body the IAAF all records set before a date that has yet to be defined will remain but only on a list of old records.

The project is part of European Athletics' drive to set a clean slate in the fight against doping.

Among its fiercest critics is long jump world record-holder Mike Powell.

The American, who jumped 8.95 metres in August 1991, attacked the plan as "disrespectful, an injustice and a slap in the face".

Another arch critic of the plan which was unanimously approved by the European Athletics Council on May 1 was Britain's Paul Radcliffe.

Radcliffe, who ran a women's marathon world record time of 2hr 15min 25sec in 2003, said the idea was "cowardly" and could "damage her reputation and dignity".

Hansen in a statement confirmed the record-wiping plan and other proposals "to restore the credibility of European and world records" were now under consideration with the IAAF.

He said he welcomed the debate the record-wiping plan has generated.

"As might have been expected, the reactions have been mixed," Hansen commented.

"The most controversy comes from some of the current record holders who, of course, would be personally affected by the proposed reassignment of record recognition. We must be aware of and sympathetic to their concerns."

He invited athletes and other "stakeholders" to submit their thoughts to an email address set up for the consultation process (recordsreview@european-athletics.org).

"If new ideas or better approaches emerge they should be considered and incorporated into the debate," he added.

"Our hope is that in the end the selection of the way forward will be based on calm consideration, rational arguments and a consensus on what is best for all athletes and the sport as a whole."

IAAF President Sebastian Coe backs the plan.

"There will be athletes, current record holders, who will feel that the history we are recalibrating will take something away from them but I think this is a step in the right direction and if organised and structured properly we have a good chance of winning back credibility in this area," Coe said earlier this month.

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