UKA lead­er­ship cri­sis deep­ens

BE­LEA­GUERED UKA CHAIR­MAN NOW FACES VOTE AS OP­PO­SI­TION MOUNTS

Athletics Weekly - - News -

DO­MES­TIC ath­let­ics heads into Christ­mas with no res­o­lu­tion to the lead­er­ship cri­sis which has dogged the sport all win­ter,

writes Ja­son Hen­der­son.

Richard Bowker, the be­lea­guered chair­man of UK Ath­let­ics, ap­pears doomed in his role af­ter a UK mem­bers’ coun­cil meet­ing and AGM last Fri­day showed lit­tle con­fi­dence in his plans for the sport.

An im­me­di­ate vote on his po­si­tion at the helm of the na­tional gov­ern­ing body was blocked due to a rule that says 28 days’ no­tice must be given, but a for­mal 28-day process has now started, al­though Bowker could re­sign be­fore that pe­riod is up.

UKA has also yet to ad­ver­tise the po­si­tion of chief ex­ec­u­tive fol­low­ing the res­ig­na­tion of

Niels de Vos in the au­tumn. De Vos has since taken up a role in Eu­gene to help over­see the 2021 IAAF World Cham­pi­onships, while Nigel Holl has been act­ing as in­terim chief ex­ec­u­tive in Birm­ing­ham.

It is al­most two years to the day since UKA qui­etly an­nounced the news that Bowker would re­place Ed Warner as its chair­man. A press re­lease that went out on De­cem­ber 22 in 2016 re­ceived lit­tle cov­er­age at the time, in stark com­par­i­son to the wellat­tended press con­fer­ence that marked the be­gin­ning of Warner’s chair­man­ship in 2007.

This was partly be­cause Warner con­tin­ued in the role through­out 2017 while Bowker waited in the wings, but since tak­ing on the role fully the man who made a name for him­self in the rail­ways in­dus­try has failed to make an im­pact.

The po­lit­i­cal tur­moil was cov­ered over 10 pages in last week’s is­sue of AW. In the magazine, South of Eng­land chair­man Mike Winch was scathing of UKA’s re­cent gov­er­nance, de­scrib­ing it as a “muck-up”, while the Scot­tish Ath­let­ics chair­man Ian Beat­tie talked about UKA’s “bunker men­tal­ity” and the need to be more open.

His­tor­i­cally, po­lit­i­cal tur­moil has reg­u­larly blighted do­mes­tic ath­let­ics, but the in­ter­net era is al­low­ing peo­ple from grass­roots ath­let­ics to get in­volved in the is­sues more than ever.

For ex­am­ple John Downes, the 1996 In­ter-Coun­ties cross­coun­try cham­pion, has been gath­er­ing sup­port via a se­ries of vlogs and he has de­scribed

AW’s cov­er­age last week as “a sem­i­nal mo­ment”.

Apart from a short state­ment in last week’s is­sue, UKA has de­clined to com­ment on the prob­lems all win­ter.

Un­der fire: UKA chair­man Richard Bowker and, in­set,some of last week’s AW cov­er­age

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