World Athletics President Sebastian Coe has told media that a new event is being planned for 2026 ©ITG

World Athletics plans to launch a new competition for 2026 in order to maintain the profile and earning power of its elite performers.

"We want to continue work on 2026," World Athletics President Sebastian Coe told media in a virtual end-of-year presentation.

"It’s not just a year I plucked out of the ether, it is a year in that four-year Olympic cycle where we don’t actually have an Olympic Games or a World Championship.

"Someone described it as a ‘fallow year’.

"There are no fallow years in athletics.

"That year we have the European Championships, the Commonwealth Games and Area Championships.

"But I didn’t want the athletes to slide off the radar screen one year in every four.

"I wanted them to really showcase themselves."

World Athletics is planning to launch a new two or three-day event in 2026 to maintain athletes' profiles ©Getty Images
World Athletics is planning to launch a new two or three-day event in 2026 to maintain athletes' profiles ©Getty Images

While the Birmingham 2026 European Athletics Championships will take place in traditional summer territory the Commonwealth Games that year in the Australian state of Victoria are scheduled for the second half of March.

That would give World Athletics greater leeway than they had this year, when the postponed World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Oregon fitted into a summer that also contained the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games and the European Athletics Championships in Munich.

It is understood that the proposed new event will be relatively brief, lasting two or maybe three days.

"We are still working on the format, and much is to be discussed and agreed upon," Coe added.

"But it is taking the sport in the direction we want, which is building the profile for the athletes, providing them with competition opportunities, and unashamedly putting more money in their pockets.

"So there will be a focus on the new format, particularly around prize money."

Coe, who was re-elected as President for a second four-year term in 2019, also responded positively to the question of whether he would seek a third term, although he did not confirm the fact.

"I’m going to continue with the work I’m doing, but ultimately that is a matter for Congress," he added.

"I enjoy my job, why wouldn’t I?

"It’s a sport I love and it’s a sport that has been very kind to me."