Athletics: Golden Four extended with more money and meetings

World athletics has enlarged its "premiership'' meetings for next season, extending the Golden Four into a Golden League and offering a million dollar jackpot in prize money.

The Golden Four of Zurich, Brussels, Oslo and Berlin, who have until now organised their own prize structure within the overall enclosure of the grand prix, will be joined by the meetings in Rome, Monte Carlo and - probably - Paris.

Primo Nebiolo, the president of the International Amateur Athletic Federation, said the Golden League jackpot would be divided equally among athletes who win each of their events in each of the meetings, plus finishing first at the grand prix final scheduled for Moscow on 5 September.

Athletes breaking a world record at a Golden League meeting will receive a bonus of $50,000 (pounds 33,000). The League schedule is planning to run from 14 July.

Meanwhile, the former East German coach Ekkart Arbeit has been released by Athletics Australia because of his links with drug abuse and his 20 years service as a secret police informer.

The Australian Sports Minister, Andrew Thomson, confirmed yesterday that the AA would not proceed with Arbeit's proposed $280,000 contract for the four years leading up to the Sydney Olympics. Arbeit's appointment had been under review after a German parliamentary official, Werner Franke, said the former head track and field and throws coach during the 1980s played a major part in the abuse of drugs in East Germany.

Australian media gained files this week from the Federal Commission for the Stasi Archives in Berlin which confirmed Arbeit had knowledge of the East German drugs programme.

Arbeit was a Stasi informer from 1970-89, detailing in intimate details the sexual life, personal habits, financial details and politically indiscreet remarks of athletes and officials under his care.

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