Idraettens Hus
2605 Broendby



International Amateur Athletic Federation
att Technical Committee
BP 359
MC 98007, Monaco Cedex


Alterations to Rules at the IAAF Congress in Athens 1997.

Dear Colleagues,

The Danish Athletic Federation has forwarded, by letter dated 3rd January 1997, a number of proposals concerning the above, and by fax, dated 21st July 1997, some amendments to the complete set of proposals, received from IAAF. A number of our proposals and amendments have been adopted by the Congress.

In spite of the fact that the Congress is the first in four years to deal with the Technical Rules, and in spite of the vital importance of this, we had however limited us to the most important items, realising that with the comprehensive material at hand, it would propably be difficult to deal with all the - in our opinion - relevant problems and questions at the Congress, however unfortunate this may be.

Therefore we would like, in all modesty, to try to contribute further to this important basis of our sport, the Technical Rules, by forwarding the comments and proposals below, of which some possibly could be included as editorial changes, should they meet the approval of the Committee, or maybe create a basis for further consideration.


Proposed changes/clarifications in the text are underlined in the following:

NO 21, Rule 128, p.101 - TC

Comment: There are no panel of official surveyors,  that means that professional and very costly assistance is needed constantly according to the proposal, especially when all competitions under Rule 12.1(a) to (g) are to be included, and a surveyour is needed at all meetings ("shall check---and shall furnish---before the meeting").
We do not think that this is realistic.

NO 22, Rule 131, p.101 - ESP

Comment: How are Call Room Judges in general able to know which "club uniform clothings" are officially approved by National Governing Bodies?


NO 37, Rule 143.2(ii), p.114 - TC

Comment: What about high jump competitions?

As stated by me at the Congress, high jumpers will constantly be violating the wording of this rule, and after all it is the wording of the rules that officials all over the world must base their work on.

It seems to me also that it may be difficult to understand the difference between the fact that dialogue is not allowed, but verbal communication from an individual who is not in the competition area is allowed.

It could be questioned whether it is a dialog when somebody shouts a message to an athlete, and the athlete in one way or another confirms his understanding and/or agreement.

More so it also seems that there should be the same, specified sanctions against athletes communicating with (including sign language which is still not allowed, but is being used constantly), or engaging in a dialogue with someone not in the competition area, as there are when an athlete is giving or receiving assistance within, respectively from within the competition area. This is not the case in the present rules.

See also proposal NO 128, Rule 143.2, p.114 - DEN.


NO 38, Rule 145.1, p.114

Comment: The fibreglass tapes are now back again. At least in competitions under Rule 12.1 (d) to (g), plus national competitions.
What if a record, let alone a world record, is established in one of these competitions? According to Rule 148.10 (a) it is still necessary to use only a steel tape.

Question: What is actually the problem with the fibreglass tapes, as compared to the steel tapes? and are the steel tapes not more influenced by changes in the temperature than the fibreglass ones?


NO 45, Rule 147.6, p.118 - GER

Comment: If the Jury of Appeal is convinced that there is enough proof to make a decision, it should not be necessary to consult "all relevant persons", and who decides anyway which persons are relevant, and accordingly when the Rule has been abided by?


NO 46, Rule 148.6(a), p.118 - TC

---in an athletic arena, with or without roof, which conforms to Rule 137. A running track and runways shall be laid on firm ground without the use of sprung sections or similar installations.

Reason: The roof refers to the arena. A section is not a material.


NO 59, Rule 161.7, p.127 - Various

---as far as the breakline after the first bend, where runners may leave their respective lanes when having passed the line with both feet.

The break line shall be an arced line, 5 cm wide, across the track, marked at each end, outside the track, with a flag at least 1.50 m high.

Reason: Improvement of the language in the present text. For instance a line cannot be marked with a line. Clarification as to the passing of the breakline.


NO 61, Rule 161.8, p.129

---shall stay in his lane as far as the breakline, where runners may leave their respective lanes when having passed the line with both feet.

The breakline shall be an arced line, 5 cm wide, across the track, marked at each end, outside the track, with a flag at least 1.50 m high.


NO 66, Rule 163.1, p.134 - TC

---approaching hurdler coincides with the edge of the track marking nearest the hurdler.

Reason: A more precise description.

Comment: The markings shall be positioned on the track accordingly. This is not specified in the "Track And Field Facilities Manual".


NO 68, Rule 164.3, p.137 - POR

---there shall be, in each lap beginning and ending at the finish line, five jumps with---

Reason: The expression "complete lap" can be interpreted in different ways.


NO 71, Rule 166.2, p.141 - ESP

The second runners in each team may leave their respective lanes, when having passed the breakline with both feet.
The breakline shall be an arced line, 5 cm wide, across the track, marked at each end, outside the track, with a flag at least 1.50 m high.

Reason: See under NO 59.


NO 79 and NO 180, Rule 173.4, p.157 - DEN a.o.

No changes were approved at the Congress, and consequently there will still be much confusion concerning this. It is not specified clearly in the Rule whether or not there must be a visible mark in the plasticine to judge a failure in relevant situations. However in the "IAAF Athletics Officiating" is stated on page 41:
"It is only a foul if a mark is made on the plasticine.".

In the "IAAF Officiating card" concerning long jump and triple jump is stated:
"---after the take-off line is located the plasticine to retain the imprint of the athletes`s foot when there is a foot fault.".

Something to the same effect is said in "IAAF - The Referee", page 133. However on page 136 is referred to an interpretation made by the Technical Committee on July 14th 1993:
"if the athlete touches the ground beyond the take-off line, but no mark is made in the plasticine, it should be judged as a failure".

On the IAAF Officiating Card is also stated:
"An athlete commits a foul if he leaves a mark in the plasticine"
but nothing about touching the ground beyond the take-off line. Rather confusing, and that was what the above proposals intended to clarify. I do hope that you agree that some clarifying is needed.


NO 81, Rule 181.3 etc., p.160 etc.

Comment: Who decides then, the number of practice trials?


NO 92, Rule 186.26, p.186 - POR

The landing sector shall consist of cinders or grass or other suitable material on which the javelin might make an imprint.

Comment: I wonder whether cinders will not ruin the javelins, and supposedly it will have to be smoothed during competition.


NO 109 and 110, Rule 141.3 and 4, p.106 - DEN

Proposal from Denmark, not recommended by the IAAF Technical Committee.

Comment: In Rule 166.4 there is a further exception concerning athletes leaving lane or track, and the above Rules are not complete without the reference to this.


NO 216 Rule 140.5, p.105 - DEN

Proposal from Denmark referred for further consideration.

Comment: It is imperative that it is clarified whether or not the results in question are valid.

In Rule 143.2 is stated "---he will be disqualified from that event. For field events, any performance accomplished up to that time shall stand".


Rule 173.4 (d)

A competitior fails if he, after a completed jump, walks back through the landing area.

There appears to be different opinions as to the interpretation of the above, so that maybe a clarification is needed.

A jump is obviously completed only when the white flag can be shown, which is when the competitor has left the landing area, either purposely or in the cause of landing.

If a competitor, after having landed in the sand, rises and walks back through the landing area, unto the runway, the jump is obviously to be considered a failure according to 173.6. and no additional rule is called for.

Logically, in both cases, when a competitor walks back through the landing area, before the jump has been measured, he clearly indicates that he wants the jump to be judged a failure.


Rules 181.25 - 181.21 - 184.27


---The distance across shall be increased by 68.4 cm.


We would like to suggest that, when editing the new  Handbook, the words "Shall, should, may, must", will only be used in the meaning that shall is the same as must, should is the same as may, and vice versa. The language in the Handbook shall of course be correct English, but in English, as in many other languages, it   is mostly possible to choose between "sophisticated" words and expresssions and a more common language, which is more understandable, and accordingly not so easy to misunderstand, when used throughout the world.

Additionally I enclose an overview of the Danish proposals and amendments that were adopted by the Congress.

Kind regards,

Georg Facius
International Advisor