Age Group changes: latest update on when may be implemented

Thursday 14th December 2023

Action from the 4J Age Group Champs in Aberdeen earlier this year (photo by Bobby Gavin)

scottishathletics, along with the other UK Home Country governing bodies, introduced a rule-change proposal in Spring 2023 to align the competition year and age-group cut-off dates across all disciplines of athletics.

The goal was to try and provide clarity to participants and encourage participation amongst young athletes.

Feedback on the original proposal was collected from clubs, athletes and other stakeholders throughout Summer 2023, and the consultation process reached the end of the latest phase on October 31 this year.

Feedback has been submitted to the UK Athletics rule group for reporting to the UK Athletics Board, with recommendations for action, at their December 2023 meeting.

The proposal to adjust athletics age groups to align with World Athletics has received support from all Home Country federations through the consultation process.

However, the process also highlighted some concerns relating to the timescales of the change and the impact of implementation in firstly April 2024 and then September 2024.

Therefore, the proposal has been further revised for initial implementation from 1 April 2026 (in line with that edition of the UKA rule book), with a second phase of change to follow at a later date.

If the proposal is approved by the UKA Board then further discussion will take place over the coming months on the implications of the change for competition providers, athletes, coaches, parents and officials.

Age Groups action from Grangemouth in August 2022 (photo by Bobby Gavin)

scottishathletics is pleased that the proposal to move to under-even age groups continues to move towards acceptance, but is frustrated with this further delay until 2026, especially given the support we received during our own consultation process.

Most of the feedback from club representatives and event organisers in Scotland has been positive, requesting a single change instead of a phased approach, and clarity on what implications the move will have for athletes in specific disciplines.

To this end, scottishathletics will give further consideration to the potential implementation of under-even (U14, U16, U18, U20) World Athletics Age Groups and a single competition year from 1 January 2025 in Scotland.

This would remove the need for a phased approach, which our members did not support, and help to deter further loss of athletes within the sport before 2026.

However, we are conscious that this may cause some complication if Scotland is operating different age groups from the rest of the U.K.

So we will continue to consult with the membership on the matter to ensure we are providing the best platform for athletes to perform and develop to achieve their potential in our sport.



Tags: Age Group champs, Age Groups

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