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Age Group Proposal Update

Welsh Athletics logo on a red background.

03/11/2023 00:00, In Blog /

On 30 October, the Home Country Athletics Federations (HCAF) met along with the England Athletics Board, and the England Council to debate the suggested changes to the existing age groups set out within the UK Athletics (UKA) rule book, following a period of consultation.

The suggested changes were from the current age groups of U13, U15 and U17 to the new proposed age groups of U12, U14, U16 and U18.

After robust and open debate, two actions were approved:

  1. Firstly, the England Athletics Board voted unanimously to establish a designated task force to build on the core principles of our existing strategy and insights from existing research, by working with people from across the sport (including clubs, schools, athletes and volunteers) to understand the complete picture around engagement of young athletes, what works well and what is driving the increasing number of young athletes to drop out of the sport.
  2. Secondly, the England Council followed by the England Athletics Board separately voted, both by an overwhelming majority, to approve the age group change proposal but with a requirement for further consultation around implementation and a revised timeline, with the request of 1 April 2026 for the changes to be implemented.

CEO of Welsh Athletics, and Chair of the working group reviewing the proposal James Williams commented:

The significant amount of engagement and consultation with the sport has identified some clear trends that the Home Countries have tried to take into account. Our starting point was attempting to address the retention issues across junior age groups, and attempting to alleviate the current pressures for junior athletes and the clash with exams.


The proposal has been amended slightly to reflect the feedback received during the consultation period. The extension to the implementation timeline will allow further engagement and consultation with clubs and competition providers to enable the sport to transition as smoothly as possible.


The feedback in Wales to the proposal has been largely positive, recognising the fact that as a sport we must be ready to evolve the offer for junior athletes and respond to the views of the young people in our sport.


In the event that the proposal is approved by the Board of UKA, it would pave the way to explore a new structure for domestic competition, giving the opportunity to future proof domestic competition and giving the best possible experience for junior athletes across Wales and the UK.

You can read the full report submitted to the UK Rules Group on behalf of all Welsh Athletics, Scottish Athletics, England Athletics and Athletics Northern Ireland.

Download the report here.