PARIS - The International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) yesterday announced the creation of a new global circuit of one-day meetings known as the IAAF Diamond League starting in 2010.
The new system will replace the current Golden League series of six meetings as the IAAF attempts to enhance the worldwide appeal of athletics, by going outside Europe for the first time.
At present, 12 meetings have signed contracts to join the Diamond League, with three others on standby. That means there will be competitions in Asia, Europe, the Middle East and the United States.
"The IAAF Diamond League will play a key role in supporting the IAAF World Athletics Series of championships, as well as athletics at the Olympic Games, by building up interest in athletics in the period leading up to and immediately afterwards the main event," a statement from the IAAF said.
Athletes from 32 different athletics events can take part in the new setup and all 32 disciplines will have the same prize money with each meeting giving out $ 416,000.
There will also be centralized contracts to ensure that the best athletes in the world take part. In each of the 32 events there will be an "IAAF Diamond Race" with points available throughout the season. The athlete with the most points at the end of the series will be awarded a 4 carat diamond worth around $ 80,000.
IAAF President Lamine Diack welcomed the creation of the Diamond League saying: "I am delighted that the IAAF, in close association with the meeting directors, has come up with a new professional circuit which will offer an easily understandable series of meetings to provide world class entertainment and also offer the maximum number of competition opportunities for a maximum number of athletes in different events."
The final composition of the league will be confirmed at the end of the 2009 season, but it will include London, Lausanne, Stockholm, Paris.