UK Athletics told to reform by UK Sport following damning review
The review summary said participants "often referenced that the current state of athletics 'couldn't get any worse'"
By PA Media
Last Updated: 07/05/20 1:33pm
UK Athletics (UKA) has been ordered to reform its board by the end of the year after an independent review identified a "general culture of mistrust".
The review, led by Dame Sue Street and commissioned by elite sports funding body UK Sport in February, was set up to make the governing body "fit for the future" after a series of crises and scandals surrounding it.
Among the key recommendations of the review is the appointment of an independent chair. UKA must set out how it plans to carry out the reforms by the end of September, and complete those reforms by the end of the year.
Incoming UKA chief executive Zara Hyde-Peters could not take up her role as intended last year over a safeguarding issue, while chair Chris Clark stood down in February after just seven months in the post.
A summary of findings from the independent review read: "The scars inflicted as a result of the period of difficulty within athletics are clear to see.
"The impression formed during the review was that athletics in the UK is not (currently) in a good position.
"Many of the participants that were interviewed highlighted a disappointment at having experienced poor behaviours within the sport, and also referred to a general culture of mistrust.
"This was particularly highlighted in relation to the relationship between UKA and the HCAFs (home countries athletics federations). UKA were accused of adopting a defensive approach to the engagement with stakeholders.
"It was often referenced that the current state of athletics 'couldn't get any worse'."
As well as the board reforms, it is required to introduce an ethical decision-making culture and a new communications strategy.
UK Sport chief executive Sally Munday said: "The independent review into UK Athletics has provided clear areas of focus to help UKA and the wider sport in the UK to tackle the deep-rooted problems in athletics.
"It has laid the groundwork for some really positive collaboration between ourselves and the home country sports councils to agree a very clear change plan for UKA and the home country athletics federations to work on together.
"We hope that this can mark the beginning of a new chapter for athletics in this country. We've been encouraged by the positive engagement we've had with the board and executive leadership team at UKA in recent weeks and believe that this can be the springboard needed for one of our most popular sports to flourish."
UK Sport has funded UKA to the tune of £27m since 2017.