European Athletics Association

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European Athletics
IAAF map with EAA.png
Abbreviation EAA
Formation 1932
Type Sports organisation
Headquarters Lausanne, Switzerland
Region served
51 national associations
Official language
English, French
Svein Arne Hansen[1]
Main organ
European Athletics Council
Parent organization

The European Athletic Association (also known as European Athletics) is the governing body for athletics in Europe. The association consists of 51 national members and is one of six Area Associations of the world's athletics governing body, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF). European Athletics is headquartered in Lausanne, with Svein Arne Hansen as its current president.

The EAA runs several indoor and outdoor championships and meetings at the continental level. It controls the regulations and rights for these events.

Created in 1932 as a European Committee within the IAAF, decision was taken to create an independent body during the Bucharest conference of 1969. The first EAA congress took place in Paris on 6–8 October 1970, electing Dutchman Adriaan Paulen as its first president. The association grew substantially over the years, moving from a structure entirely managed by volunteers, with its offices based in the acting Secretary's home country to a professional organization now headquartered in Lausanne, Switzerland, since 2003.


After the foundation of the International Association of Athletic Federations (IAAF) in 1912, the idea came quickly to set up a European committee within the governing board of the organization. The idea, however, met with some resistance which gradually faded as the international and sport contexts evolved. Actively promoted by Hungarian representative Szilard Stankovits[2] the initiative came to life following the Los Angeles congress of the IAAF in 1932: a European Commission (chaired by Stankovits) was officially designated by the Council with the task of reviewing the conditions for the organisation of the European Athletics Championships.[3]

The first official meeting of what came to be known as the European Commission was held in Budapest on 7 January 1934: the organization of the first European Athletics Championships, which had already been discussed, was officially awarded to Turin.[4][5] These were men-only and were notably held in absence of the British delegation, which opposed an event seen as competing with its own British Empire Games.[3] The next championships took place in Paris in 1938, but after Stankovits' death the same year and the cancellation of all events during WWII, the Commission lay dormant until 1945.[5]

During the post-war period, and with the increase in membership both at IAAF and European levels, the Commission quickly changed to an independent association, including the related financial and political independence from its international parent: its budget, for instance, increased from 100 pounds sterling in 1951 (for postal expenses)[6] to 40,000 dollars per year in 1970.[7] It was also during that period, particularly the 1960s, that the Commission started experimenting with and developing a greater range of events besides the European Championships: the European Junior Championships (1964), the European Cup (1965), the Indoor championships (1966).

Adriaan Paulen (1976), the Association's first president

The Commission officially became a Committee in July 1952,[8] gradually expanding its independence: its members were elected by all IAAF Members at regular IAAF Congresses until 1966 when, for the first time, their selection became European-only. The shift also reflects the increased income received from television rights, as earnings took off as a direct result of broadcasting arrangements.[9] The 1969 European championships secured a record 90,000 dollars for Eurovision to gain the rights to broadcast the event. It was then decided that the European Committee would be directly receiving these funds in order to benefit its members rather than having it redistributed by the IAAF.[8]

On 31 October 1969, the Association of the European Members of the IAAF was constituted at a formal meeting of the European Committee of the IAAF in Bucharest. Its Constitutional Rules were ratified at the IAAF Congress in Stockholm, August 1970, and came into force at the first EAA Congress in Paris on 7 November 1970.[8] Ad Paulen, who was president of the European Committee of the IAAF, was elected as the first President of the EAA and simultaneously became (or remained) European representative on the IAAF Council, a position he held until his election as President of the IAAF in 1976.[7]

The 1970s were also the time for the EAA to raise the issue of doping and start establishing more systematic controls, pushing for tests to be extended to non-European athletes as well.[10] The European Championships of 1974 included a wider range of banned products, with anabolic steroids being checked at all other subsequent events.[10] As a continent, Europe clearly was "the nucleus of the IAAF" and an example to be followed for other IAAF members.[11] As such, the European Association became an experimental platform for international athletics, organising events before they were recognized by the International Olympic Committee: the women marathon was for instance included in the 1982 championships and became an olympic distance for female athletes at the 1984 Summer Olympics.

President Country Tenure
Adriaan Paulen  Netherlands 1969–1976
Arthur Gold  United Kingdom 1976–1987
Carl-Olaf Homen  Finland 1987–1999
Hansjörg Wirz   Switzerland 1999–2015
Svein Arne Hansen  Norway 2015–

The late 1980s saw major new challenges appear for sports in general, and European athletics in particular, with the increased professionalization of athletes and the breakdown of the Eastern Bloc: the increase in members federations after 1991, the growing complexity of financial and commercial negotiations as well as an ever-expanding calendar of events meant that the organisation had to adapt. Till Luft, from Germany, became the first full-time General Secretary in 1995 and worked at the first EAA office in Frankfurt and, after April 1996, Darmstadt.[12][13] A second office was also opened in London, next to the IAAF. A few years later, because of the somewhat unfavourable nature of the German tax system towards non-profit organizations, the proposal was made to merge both offices and move out of Germany. The move to Switzerland and necessary changes to Constitutional Rules were approved at the Athens Congress of 2003, and the new location opened in Lausanne (where several other sports organizations, including the IOC, were already located) on 1 January 2004.


European Athletics' membership grew from 34 in 1987 to 49 in 1991, with a number of member federations also disappearing, such as East Germany and Czechoslowakia. It now has 51 members, Kosovo having joined in 2015.[14] Since 2005, the EAA also has its own anthem, composed by the Armenian composer Gevorg Manasyan, which is used at the opening and closing of official events.[15]

File:EAA membership.svg.png
European Athletics Members

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Age categories

  • Senior (all the athletes over 23 years old)
  • Under 23 (athletes aged from 20 to 22 years on 31 December of the year of the competition)[17]
  • Junior (athletes aged from 16 to 19 years on 31 December of the year of the competition)[18]





Premium Permit Meetings

Meeting Arena City Country
Memorial Primo Nebiolo Stadio Primo Nebiolo Turin  Italy
Josef Odložil Memorial Stadion Evžena Rošického Prague  Czech Republic
Paavo Nurmi Games Paavo Nurmi Stadium Turku  Finland
Internationales Hochsprung-Meeting Eberfürst Arena Eberstadt  Germany
Palio Città della Quercia Stade Quercia Rovereto  Italy

Classic Permit Meetings

Meeting Arena City Country
KBC Night of Athletics Stadion De Veen Heusden-Zolder  Belgium
Gugl Games Linzer Stadion Linz  Austria
Janusz Kusociński Memorial 10th-Anniversary Stadium / City Athletics Stadium Warsaw / Szczecin  Poland
Riga Cup Daugava Stadium Riga  Latvia
Leichtathletikmeeting Paul-Greifzu-Stadion Dessau  Germany
Papaflessia Municipal Stadium Kalamata  Greece
Terra Sarda Meeting Stadio Sant'Elia Cagliari  Italy
Meeting international de Montreuil Stade Jean Delbert Montreuil-sous-Bois  France
International Athletic Meeting in Honor of Miner's Day Ob Jezeru City Stadium Velenje  Slovenia
Meeting Iberoamericano de Atletismo Stadium Iberoamericano Huelva  Spain
Göteborg GP Slottskogsvallen Gothenburg  Sweden
Sollentuna GP Sollentunavallen Sollentuna  Sweden
Meeting de la Ville de Reims Reims  France
Znamensky Memorial Meteor Stadium Zhukovsky  Russia
Meeting Stanislas Stade Raymond Petit Nancy  France
Meeting international Stade Jean Adret Sotteville-lès-Rouen  France
István Gyulai Memorial Székesfehérvár  Hungary
Spitzen Leichtathletik Luzern Stadium Allmand Luzern   Switzerland
Karlstad GP Tingvalla IP Karlstad  Sweden
Memorial Zdenka Hrbacka Mestský Štadión Dubnica nad Váhom  Slovakia
Meeting Città di Padova Stadio Euganeo Padova  Italy

Area Permit Meetings

Indoor Permit Meetings

Meeting Arena City Country
Reykjavik International Games Laugardalshöll Reykjavík  Iceland
Glasgow International Match Kelvin Hall Glasgow  United Kingdom
Indoor Combined Events Tallinn Lasnamäe Indoor Hall Tallinn  Estonia
Banskobystricka latka Sportova hala na Stiavnickach Banská Bystrica  Slovakia
PSD Bank Meeting Sportpark Düsseldorf Düsseldorf  Germany
Samsung Pole Vault Stars Druzhba Arena Donetsk  Ukraine
Pedro's Cup Hala Luczniczka Bydgoszcz  Poland
Malmö Games Malmö Arena Malmö  Sweden
Golden Pole Pardubice  Czech Republic
Prague Indoor O2 Arena Prague  Czech Republic

Cross Country Permit Meetings

Race Walking Permit Meetings

See also


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  4. Minutes of the IAAF Council, Berlin, 23 and 24 September 1933
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  9. "It is imperative in the future that positive arrangements be concluded with television and the the gross receipts from television revenues be included in the percentage allocated to the IAAF." Minutes of the 24th meeting of the European Committee, Prague, 10 November 1962.
  10. 10.0 10.1 Minutes of the Council, Zagreb, 1–2 November 1974
  11. Adriaan Paulen, minutes of the IAAF Council, Turin, 5 August 1979, as cited by Roger and Tetret (2010).
  12. The office was traditionnally located in the Honorary Secretary, and then General Secretary's home country.
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External links