The coronavirus pandemic has brought large parts of Europe to a near standstill and its impact has been especially profound in the sporting world. Significant international fixtures have been either postponed or cancelled and many sporting federations and organisations are suffering financial hardships.
And while the situation in Europe is an improving one on the field of play with major national and international athletics events taking place throughout August and September, communication between administrators has been critical in these unpredictable and turbulent times.
Starting from 29 June, European Athletics arranged a series of 10 e-meetings with its 50 Member Federations. Each meeting was attended by a group of five neighbouring or nearby Member Federations. The aim of these e-meetings which were hosted by European Athletics President Dobromir Karamarinov and European Athletics CEO Christian Milz were to provide support to Member Federations and harness greater communication and cooperation between Member Federations and European Athletics.
“Just like other international sporting federations, European Athletics was also heavily impacted by the coronavirus pandemic this year leading to the cancellation of our flagship biennial European Athletics Championships which should have taken place in August.
"Although not a replacement for the lack of athletics action, hosting this series of Member Federations and European Athletics Leaders’ e-meetings has allowed us to keep in close contact with our 50 Member Federations while exchanging best-practice case studies and regular updates on the changing COVID-19 situation in each country,” said European Athletics Interim President Dobromir Karamarinov.
The e-meetings elicited a positive response from all parties. Member Federations appreciated having an open and equal dialogue with European Athletics and with travel restrictions still a reality across large parts of Europe, they also benefited from having an opportunity to meet their neighbouring Member Federation albeit remotely.
“Despite being forced to cancel this year’s Paris 2020 European Athletics Championships, we were fortunate enough to have safeguarded our media and commercial revenues from the event thanks to a comprehensive insurance policy. This meant that we were able to fully recompense our broadcast partner, the EBU, and all our commercial partners," said Karamarinov.
“In addition thanks to a voluntary partial furlough scheme taken up by nearly 80% of the European Athletics staff, we have been able to make significant reductions to our operational costs,” he concluded.
European Athletics has implemented initiatives in recent years to harness a better working relationship with its Member Federations and making the most of digital technology, European Athletics is considering using a similar format again in the future.