IAAF adopts "no false start" rule


Jill Geer
Chief Public Affairs Officer
USA Track & Field

BERLIN - The IAAF Congress on Wednesday approved a new rule that will disqualify athletes the first time they false start in any given race. The rule will take effect January 1, 2010.

The rule will replace the current false-start policy of the first false-start being charged to the entire field, with only subsequent false-starts resulting in disqualification. Implementation is set for 2010 in order to enable athletes to become accustomed to the rule well ahead of the 2011 IAAF World Outdoor Championships in Daegu, South Korea.

Speaking in support of the rule change, IAAF President Lamine Diack pointed to the NCAA's longstanding no false start rule as evidence that such a rule is practical and enforceable. He stated his belief that "the current rule gives sprinters the chance to play the system," he said, "to deliberately false start but not be punished for it."

The rule change was approved by a vote of 97 to 55, with six abstentions. The IAAF Congress on Wednesday also approved defining masters as age 40 and over for long-distance running and road racing.

The IAAF Congress is being held in Berlin prior to the start of the 12th IAAF World Outdoor Championships, which begin Saturday and conclude August 23.

For more information on the World Championships, visit http://www.usatf.org