This is an opinion piece by Larry Eder on UK Athletics and its future.
The truth is this.
The crisis at UK Athletics should never have happened.
It was the perfect storm, beginning in 2011. The Financial nightmare that UK Athletics finds itself in now began then, with UK Athletics then honcho Niels de Vos ending the federation’s relationship with their sponsor agency, FastTrack. At the time, FastTrack had set a record in sports marketing for a sponsor in athletics, one larger than the entire budget of World Athletics for a year.
Then, the World Cup in 2018, which was. Financial nightmare, and subsequently, well-meaning but poor leadership. We applaud Ian Beattie and his team for having to make terribly hard decisions. We think it is ironic that British, Scottish, and Welsh athletes are at the top of their form, months prior to the Paris 2024 Olympics, and looking at a federation that is in such upheaval.
While we at RunBlogRun believe that it will get better, it will take several years to resurrect the financial security of UK Athletics. Recognition should go to NIKE, who stepped in to financially save UK Athletics. This is no hyperbole.
Ian Beattie, chair of UK athletics, gave a briefing to British media last week, explaining that with reduced costs, support of a major sponsor, and drastic staff reductions, it will take until 2025 to be on sound financial footing.
Nike saved UK athletics with a renegotiated contract and expedited payment to begin the road to positive cash flow.
The need for sponsors continues for UK Athletics. UK is seeking meet sponsors and a TV broadcast partner who provides a fee.
UK Athletics is working on a new program with the Great Run Company and London Marathon to provide events combining various facets of athletics and road racing.
The challenge is how to rebuild UK athletics in order that it previous services and support for elite athletes is possible.
UK athletics lost Stephen Maguire and Scott Simpson in quick fashion. How will their financial crisis and lack of truly experienced leadership affect the British Olympic team in Paris 2024?