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British athletics body gets scathing criticism in review

May 7, 2020 GMT

LONDON (AP) — A culture of mistrust. A lack of transparency. A widespread belief that things “couldn’t get any worse.”

Britain’s track-and-field body received scathing criticism Thursday in an independent review that was commissioned following a number of controversies and failures in recent years.

“The scars inflicted as a result of the period of difficulty within athletics are clear to see,” the report read. “The impression formed during the review was that athletics in the UK is not (currently) in a good position.”

UK Athletics has been criticized for the handling of its relationship with prominent American coach Alberto Salazar, who was banned for four years in October for doping violations. The British team failed to meet its medal target at last year’s world championship, winning just five — its lowest tally since 2005.

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There have also been several resignations in key leadership roles in the past year, with its chairman and chief executive among those stepping down.

A review was commissioned in February by UK Sport, the body that provides government and lottery funding for Olympic sports. Nearly 50 different people were interviewed.

“Many of the participants that were interviewed highlighted a disappointment at having experienced poor behaviors within the sport, and also referred to a general culture of mistrust,” it read.

“It was often referenced,” the report added, “that the current state of athletics ‘couldn’t get any worse.’”

UK Athletics has been told to produce a reform plan by the end of September and carry it out by the end of December.

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