Sport

Athletics in TV deal disaster as BBC gives fraction of the £3m-a-year they paid for present contract

Athletics in TV deal crisis as BBC offers fraction of the £3m-a-year they paid for current contract… as veteran coach blasts UK Athletics for ‘hiring staff with no knowledge of the sport’

  • Malcolm Arnold believes UK Athletics hired staff with no knowledge of the sport
  • Cuts to UK Athletics’ £27million lottery funding could well be in the pipeline
  • UKA also don’t have a permanent CEO in place five months before Tokyo 2020 

UK Athletics is facing another crisis over the renewal of its TV rights deal — with the BBC only prepared to offer a fraction of the £3million a year they paid for the current contract.

The deal to show top-level athletics in the UK runs out this summer and sources within the sport accept that the BBC can call the shots because of the sport’s declining popularity.

Malcolm Arnold, one of the most decorated coaches in Britain, has questioned why it took UK Sport so long to tackle the chaos at UK Athletics. Arnold claims UKA has paid for ‘hiring senior staff with no knowledge of the sport’. 

Malcolm Arnold has criticised the organisation and the chaos currently at UK Athletics

Malcolm Arnold has criticised the organisation and the chaos currently at UK Athletics

The funding body announced on Tuesday that it is launching a review into UKA. After a year in which it has lurched from one crisis to another, there could be cuts to UKA’s £27m lottery funding.

Arnold — whose 46-year coaching career yielded more than 70 major medals — said: ‘It’s in an awful state. You have to wonder how it has been allowed to get like this.’

With the Tokyo Olympics just five months away, UKA don’t have a permanent performance director or CEO.

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Neil Black left the former post amid the fall-out from Alberto Salazar’s ban and there has been no CEO since Niels de Vos left in 2018. 

Arnold added: ‘They hired senior staff with no knowledge of the sport. De Vos didn’t come from athletics. We haven’t had a head coach since Charles van Commenee.’


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