Athletics: Norman rejects agents

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THE agents seeking to have dollars 6.5m ( pounds 4m) in prize-money made available at next year's world championships in Stuttgart are on a hiding to nothing, according to Andy Norman, Britain's chief promotions officer.

The agents, who had little success in putting their case at last weekend's International Amateur Athletic Federation fixture conference in Prague, are now awaiting official recognition at the next IAAF council meeting in Jakarta in January.

But Norman believes their main objective is unrealistic. 'There is not going to be any prize-money at the world championships before the year 2000,' he said. 'I think you can say that is 100 per cent certain.'

Norman yesterday announced the details of a domestic fixtures programme in which Crystal Palace - host to only one major meeting last season - is re-established as the central venue for British athletics.

Apart from its customary IAAF grand prix meeting, on 23 July, the national sport centre will be used to stage the IAAF grand prix final on 10 September, where the prize- money of pounds 1.35m is three times what was on offer at Turin this year. It will also stage the inaugural British Championships - formerly the UK Championships - on the weekend of 12-13 June.

Sheffield, venue for last season's UK Championships, also loses the European Relays to Portsmouth, which is back after a two-year absence, although it retains the Lucozade Games on 29 August, which will serve as a welcome-back from the world championships.

The projected attractions on the indoor circuit include an appearance at the TSB International in Birmingham on 20 February by Noureddine Morceli. The Algerian 1500m world record holder, who last year broke the world indoor 1,000m record at Birmingham, will run the mile.

Russia and Ukraine will replace the current title-holders, the Soviet Union, in next year's European Cup finals. A council member of the European Athletics Association, Wilfried Meert, said in Brussels yesterday the organisation had made the decision at its congress in Prague last week. He said the EAA had also voted to organise the event each year from 1993.