AAA meet given the necessary protection

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The Independent Online


The AAA Championships and trials, which lost the sponsorship of KP last year, has been delivered into a safe pair of hands.

Securicor have taken over the event - and the Crystal Palace Grand Prix later in the season - for the next two years, with an option on a third year. The deal is worth around pounds 2m over three years.

The British Athletic Federation has still to secure a deal for television rights to domestic meetings once their agreement with ITV runs out at the end of this year. But Peter Radford, the BAF executive chairman, expressed confidence that continued coverage would be secured.

"We are actively discussing the matter with three major broadcasters," he said. "I don't believe we have a problem at all." The latest deal has been secured by the Federation itself, rather than the agency which has acted on their behalf for the last 10 years, Alan Pascoe Associates.

Radford reiterated that the AAA Championships and trials would be closed to all but British athletes, that automatic Olympic places would be given to the first two in each event - subject to qualifying standards - and that athletes would be obliged to compete in events for which they sought selection.

Radford did not respond directly to Jonathan Edwards' reported desire to commit himself to the triple jump in the European Cup early in the season in exchange for being allowed to prepare for the Olympics in his own way. But Tony Ward, the BAF spokesman, played down the possibility. "Once you start opening the door for one athlete, it gets pushed open by a dozen others," he said.