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Kenya’s Citizen TV: Blow to Bahrain, Gulf States as IAAF Freezes Transfer of Allegiance

2017-02-10 - 5:22 am

Bahrain Mirror: Kenya's Citizen TV website said that world athletics governing body IAAF has frozen the transfer of allegiance in the sport barely a day after Citizen TV and Citizen Digital revealed how the Gulf State of Bahrain was recruiting young Kenyans in their scheme to establish themselves as a global force in distance running.

IAAF President Lord Sebastian Coe address the media following the two-day Council Congress on Thursday, "Following a proposal by Sebastian Coe, Council has today frozen all new transfers of allegiance in athletics by exercising its powers under the Constitution to revoke Competition Rules 5.2(b), 5.4(d) and 5.4(e) with immediate effect. 

"A working group, set up to study the subject area, will submit proposals for new rules as a matter of urgency and no later than the end of this year," the IAAF said in a statement released on Monday night.

The decision will not affect the 15 applications for transfer which are already in process the governing body added.

"It has become abundantly clear with regular multiple transfers of athletes especially from Africa that the present rules are no longer fit for purpose. Athletics, which at its highest levels of competition is a championship sport based upon national teams, is particularly vulnerable in this respect.

"Furthermore, the present rules do not offer the protections necessary to the individual athletes involved and are open to abuse," IAAF President, Lord Sebastian Coe remarked following the IAAF Council Meeting in Monaco where he made the proposal to curb switching citizenship among athletes.

The website added that the sentiments of Confederation of Africa Athletics President Hamad Kalkaba Malboum, who is an IAAF Vice-President, echo the feelings of most Kenyans who watched or read the piece titled Medals for Passports that aired on Citizen TV and published on Citizen Digital on Sunday night, which Bahrain Mirror had published

It was revealed that Bahrain has recruited a team of 15 Kenyans in Kapsabet to train for the IAAF World Cross Championships in Kampala, Uganda that has been training since January with hefty incentives including a monthly stipend for them and their families.

Kenyan born runners, Ruth Jebet and Eunice Kirwa won Bahrain their only medals at the Rio 2016 Olympics, gold in the women 3000m steeplechase and silver in the women marathon, sparking their huge desire to establish training centers in Kenya, Ethiopia and South Africa.

Speaking to Citizen Digital last November, Coe who was in the process of driving reforms in the sport noted with concern the exodus of young talent especially to wealthy Gulf States saying the system needs to be reviewed to curb the practice.

While some have hailed the move to invest millions of dollars on largely neglected Kenyan athletes from oil-rich Gulf States, others have compared the practice as modern slavery or child trafficking with officials taking advantage of legal loopholes to enrich themselves by exporting young running talent.

Arabic Version    


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