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JUST IN: 'We remain committed to anti-doping' ... JAAA explains IAAF 'no vote'

Published:Friday | December 16, 2016 | 12:11 PMAndre Lowe
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The Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) has moved to assure that its decision not to vote on constitutional changes at the recent IAAF Special Congress in Monaco does not suggest any discord in it's solidarity with the fight against doping in the sport.

In a release issued late Friday night, the JAAA pointed to what it described as an unprecedented requisite for member federations to vote en masse on 15 proposals, which were to be implemented across two constitutions and executed at the beginning of the years 2017 and 2019.

The release, which was signed by General Secretary Garth Gayle, outlines that there was no opportunity to examine individual points and that the JAAA would have preferred further discussions on five particular proposals included in the 15–point plan put forward by the IAAF at the Congress.

Among the Jamaican authority’s grouses is the decision to alter the composition of the Council to reflect gender balance. The JAAA contends that this decision was taken by a small group of individuals and needed further discussion at the Congress level.

The JAAA also argues that the current age limit of 70 years old, which was agreed in the 2015 constitution, was removed without any discussion at Congress, and also noted their discontent that committees would no longer be elected by Congress but would instead be appointed under the new plan.

Other issues raised by the JAAA include term limits.

“Term limits were already agreed to and included in the 2015 constitution. In this new document, the three-term maximum period is still included, but would no longer apply to the existing council members who could serve until 2027 if re-elected. Some of these members have already served four terms,” read the JAAA’s response.

The organisation also argues that the Council’s Executive Board would be drastically changed without full discussion among member federations.

It is against these issues and the fact that they could not vote on individual points that the JAAA says it decided to not cast a vote at all.

“First and foremost, the member countries were not asked to vote on any one issue. There was a list of 15 different proposals contained in two constitutions which Congress was asked to ‘Rubber Stamp’ (vote for without amendment).

This in itself was unprecedented. We know of no other time in the 104-year history of the IAAF that federations had to vote for a series of proposals as a unit. We would have preferred for items to be separated, discussed and voted on individually,” read the JAAA statement.

“The JAAA is also keen to point out that at no point were we against any changes that would see tighter restrictions against drug cheats. Our president Dr Warren Blake’s introduction to the JAAA executive was as a drug tester and the Federation has always opposed doping in sports and have consistently fought to eliminate doping in sport,” the release added.

The IAAF was forced into change on the back of the uncovering of a massive doping and corruption scandal that rocked the international body.

New IAAF president Sebastian Coe, who replaced Lamine Diack, who is at the centre of the scandal, has  led a charge to clean up the sport and return its credibility.

At the base of that effort is a 15-point plan that included anti-doping, regulation and administrative changes that is hoped will lift the sport.

Coe’s proposals were overwhelmingly welcomed with 95 per cent of the member federations voting in favour of a constitutional reform at the Congress, which took place on December 3.