UK athletics review identifies 'culture of mistrust'

An independent review of United Kingdom Athletics (UKA) identified a general culture of mistrust within the organization and concluded that the sport is currently not in a good position, according to a summary of the findings published on Thursday.

The UK monitoring and field governing body review was commissioned by the funding agency UK Sport in February after 15 turbulent months in which the UK Athletics it lost its CEO, performance director and president.

United Kingdom Athletics was also criticised for its handling of the fallout from the Alberto Salazar scandal, particularly his decision to allow Britain's Olympic champion Mo Farah Continue training at the Nike Orgeon Project despite concerns raised in 2015 about the American athletic trainer who led the project.

Salazar was banned from athletics for four years in October after being convicted of doping violations after an investigation by the US Anti-Doping Agency. USA

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He denied any irregularity and appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport against its ban.

Farah, who returned home to England in late 2017, has never failed a drug test and has not been charged with a crime.

Scars inflicted as a result of the period of difficulty within athletics are in sight, the review said.

Many of the participants who were interviewed highlighted a disappointment at having experienced bad behaviors within the sport.

It added that United Kingdom Athletics was accused by participants in the review of adopting a defensive approach when engaging with stakeholders and that it had often been referenced that the current state of athletics 'couldn't get any worse'.

Key recommendations of the review included the need for a more positive and collaborative approach and the appointment of an independent president.

Ethical considerations will become increasingly finely balanced, he said. It is essential that the levels of authority in relation to decision-making in the 'gray areas' are crystal clear.

The review added that all of its recommendations should have clear timelines for implementation, and that UKA would have to present a plan for its board reform by the end of September.

Changes to the directory would have to be made in late December, he said.

UK Sport was advised to reflect on its role and consider the appropriate level of intervention to adopt for sports in crisis.

"It is important that UK Sport recognises situations in which it is appropriate to take a more interventionist approach, and how it would do that. This is particularly relevant in relation to board appointments," the review said.

United Kingdom Athletics said in a statement that it was "committed to working together positively and collectively to support the recommended change plan."

CEO Sally Munday said UK Sport hoped the review would mark the beginning of a new chapter for British athletics.

We believe this may be the springboard for one of our most popular sports to flourish, he added.