THE PRESENTATION SPEECH OF GEORG FACIUS:
PROPOSALS FOR RULES 12.9 AND 10 (DEN,FIN, ISL, NOR) IAAF CONGRESS 1999
First of all, I should like to emphasise that the headline and main topic of the rules, we are dealing with here, is citizenship, as the basis for representing any one country, and that this is not going to be changed by the proposal from the four Nordic countries.
What we have to decide about here however, are the cases and situations that cannot be managed in a reasonable way, when based on citizenship only, such as for instance cases where it takes more than three years to obtain citizenship, or cases where young athletes cannot at all obtain a citizenship, until they have reached the age of 18, even if they have been living in the same country all their life.
With regard to the World Youth Championships, and the World and Area Junior Championships, the problems are of even more interest and urgency, concerning the younger athletes.
IF WE LOOK AT CITIZENSHIP AS THE ONLY DECISIVE FACTOR
The laws and rules of citizenship in the 210 different countries are something on which the IAAF has no influence whatsoever, which therefore, in their multiple variety, will govern IAAF completely in this important area.
What I am saying is, that we should let IAAF rules govern the IAAF, wherever possible, and not 210 different sets of national political rules, and to do that we need the proposed rule changes, so that IAAF can deal with the growing number of cases, which are not being treated fair and reasonable by the political rules of citizenship.
The different principles in the different countries means that there is a discrimination of athletes, as far as their athletic activity is concerned, when in some countries they can become citizens in less than 7 months, whereas in other countries it takes 7 years.
It is therefore also a question whether the Member Federations, and IAAF as the governing body of athletics all over the world, wants to accept such discrimination of the athletes of the world under itīs umbrella, in relation to their athletic activity.
I think this is the main question, which has to be answered.
I would like also to point out, that one effect of using citizenship as the only criteria, of course will be that athletes who wishes to immigrate will go to those countries, where the rules concerning citizenship are very liberal so that it can be achieved within a very short time.
I do not think that that is any more desirable than having the athletes going to wealthier federations in search of better conditions.
It is even possible that those countries with liberal rules are also the countries with better conditions, and a rule based only on citizenship will not stop immigration, but it will be discriminating to athletes and national federations.
With the proposed changes of the rules, we can forget about these two alternatives, because no matter what, an athlete must have had residence in his new country for three years, in order to obtain the right to represent it. Neither the present rules, nor the changes proposed by the Council have got this effect.
As is often the case, where the rules of sport are being connected to the political rules of society, it creates problems and difficulties.
I am well aware that around the world there may be differences as to the manner in which people residing in a country are being registered, but the principle of residence in a country is already in existence in the rules, and has been for a long time.
The principle of residence is to be found in Rule 12.9 (e) and (f), as well as in Rule 12.11 (b) and (c), and it will remain in these rules, also after this congress.
As it has been possible within IAAF to administer this principle in the past, I am sure, it can be done also in the future.
Therefore, what this is about, is not to weaken the criteria of citizenship. It stays in full force, but we need additional rules where that criteria means blocking an athlete for an unreasonable long period, for instance, as proposed, more that three years.
And we need additional, modern rules, adjusted to the situation of today, as created by the world of today, so that IAAF is not on beforehand closing the door to what is probably the worlds largest single population group, refugees and immigrants, and people without any nationality at all. I cannot imagine that IAAF will disregard this the "211th Member Federation".
FINALLY, MAY I MENTION
that the present rules, as well as the proposal of the Council, do not include 12 (c),(e), (f), (g) and (h), which means that an athlete at IAAF Meetings, Area Meetings and all other international meetings, in principle can represent any country he may wish, and that the national federations can use athletes from any other country in these competitions.
There is no rule about it, and therefore no rule against it.
Georg M. Facius, DEN
ADDITIONAL ARGUMENTS WHICH WHERE NOT BROUGHT FORWARD AT THE CONGRESS:
I WOULD LIKE TO POINT TO A VERY RELEVANT EXAMPLE OF WHAT CAN HAPPEN, IF WE USE ONLY THE CRITERIA OF CITIZENSHIP:
The International Olympic Committee is one organisation which uses citizenship as criteria for participation.
In the well known case of Wilson Kipketer, the effect of this has been that, had it not been for the obligingness and sportsmanship of the Kenyan sports authorities, Wilson Kipketer, who moved permanently to Denmark in 1990, and who won his first World Championship in 1995, representing that country, and is now participating here in his 3rd World Championship, would not be able to participate in the Olympic Games in Sydney 2000.
This means that because he decided to move to another part of the world, and another country, he might not have been able to participate in the Olympic Games until the year 2004, 14 years after he arrived in his new country, and 9 years after he won the first World Championship, representing that country.
I wonder if you find this acceptable in the fast changing world of today, and more important, do you find this acceptable for an athlete who has only a limited time at his peak performance. Obviously that is what can happen, when you use only the political criteria of citizenship.
We can decide here, what is fair and reasonable for the athletes, and we can provide IAAF with the tool which is necessary to take care of that
Georg M. Facius