‘We don´t want to be pushed by outsiders’ the international association of athletics federations´ attempts to re-admit South Africa to the global athletics stage

  • Jörg Krieger
Keywords: IAAF, South Africa, Apartheid, Primo Nebiolo, IOC.


Based on a historical analysis of IAAF Council/Congress minutes and previously unknown written correspondences between IAAF officials and South African sport administrators, this paper investigates the role of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) in the process of South Africa´s re-entrance into international sport at the beginning of the 1990s. Specific attention is paid to the roles of individuals, such as IAAF President at the time, Primo Nebiolo, and IAAF Vice-President at the time, Lamine Diack, in order to elaborate whether they acted in the interest of South Africa´s needs or rather tried to exploit the South African case for their own interests. It is argued that the IAAF´s organisational readmission strategy went through three phases. Firstly, it followed the overall policies of the International Olympics Committee (IOC) by taking a careful approach guided by African IAAF Council members; then it pushed South Africa towards participation in the 1991 Athletics World Championships; and finally Nebiolo exploited the IOC’s desire to see South Africa at the 1992 Olympic Games for his own interest to become an IOC member.

Keywords: IAAF; South Africa; Apartheid; Primo Nebiolo; IOC.


Journal Identifiers

print ISSN: 0379-9069