We are a group of current and former All-Ireland athletic medal winners, athletic officials and supporters from across the island of Ireland.
We believe that Irish Athletes should be recognized as representing the island of Ireland at European and World Championship events and enjoy the same recognition which is granted by the international Olympic committee to the Olympic Federation of Ireland to allow Irish Athletes to represent the island of Ireland at the Olympic Games with no political boundary rule in operation.
It is our view that the approach adopted by World Athletics is in breach of the Good Friday Agreement and that the rights of the citizens of the island of Ireland are being denied. In particular we are concerned that the right to identify and be accepted as British or Irish or both is not being respected.
As a result of World Athletics political boundary rule a team representing the island of Ireland is not allowed to participate at European and World Championships. This discrimination is denying Irish Athletes the opportunity to represent the island of Ireland.
Our neighbours go the Olympic Games as Team Great Britain (Team GB). In the Olympic games Athletes from Northern Ireland have the right to represent team Ireland or team GB. We believe this is the correct way forward with athletes allowed to choose which country they wish to compete for; with team Ireland representing the island of Ireland.
This approach would respect the rights of all individuals on our shared island and give Irish Athletes the honour of representing the island of Ireland at European and World Championships while also respecting the choice of athletes from Northern Ireland to choose to compete for team Great Britain or the island of Ireland; team Ireland.
World Athletics, Athletics Northern Ireland and Athletics Ireland have the opportunity to lead the way and adopt an approach that would support peace and reconciliation and contribute to the spirit of generosity that is emerging on our shared island and we believe that with good will from all sides that this matter can be resolved.
Friends of Irish Athletics are committed to ensuring the rights of all Irish Athletes are respected and recognized. The group are engaged on an ongoing basis with Governments and senior Ministers in both parts of our island to ensure this long-standing problem is rectified for current and future generations of Irish Athletes.