ASOIF president Francesco Ricci Bitti at SportAccord 2024. GETTY IMAGES

The Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF) says many of its members believe the decision to award athletics gold medals to Paris 2024 "undermines the values of Olympism and the uniqueness of the Games".

In a statement released on Friday, ASOIF revealed that World Athletics, itself a member federation, had not mentioned the plan to the governing body. "ASOIF was neither informed nor consulted in advance of the announcement, which was made one day after the ASOIF General Assembly and during SportAccord," the organisation said.

"As a matter of principle, ASOIF respects and defends the autonomy of each of its member federations. However, when a decision taken by one IF has a direct impact on the collective interests of the Summer Olympic IFs, it is important and fair to discuss the matter in question with the other federations beforehand," it added.

The statement from ASOIF, whose president is former ITF chief Francesco Ricci Bitti, continued: "Over the last few days, ASOIF members have expressed several concerns regarding the announcement made by World Athletics."

"Firstly, for many, this move undermines the values of Olympism and the uniqueness of the Games. You cannot and should not put a price on an Olympic gold medal and, in many cases, Olympic medallists benefit indirectly from commercial endorsements. This disregards the less privileged athletes further down the rankings," stressed ASIOF .

"Secondly, not all sports could or should replicate this move, even if they wanted to. Paying prize money in a multi-sport environment goes against the principle of solidarity, reinforces a different set of values in each sport and raises many questions," it continues. 

"If the Olympic Games are considered to be the pinnacle of each sport, then the prize money should be comparable to and commensurate with the prizes awarded in each sport's top competitions. This is neither technically nor financially feasible," ANOAC concluded.

It then went on to remind World Athletics of its role as an international federation. "Furthermore, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is the owner and primary rights holder of the Olympic Games. The IFs establish and enforce the rules of competition at the Games," it said.

ASOIF went on to claim that the move "opens rather than resolves a number of complex issues" and vowed to raise these concerns with World Athletics and "continue to promote dialogue between its members and the IOC".