'Naturally upset that article was published': An edited version of the statement issued by Andy Norman's solicitor

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The Independent Online
IN 1987/88 Mr Norman was asked to assist in solving a problem which had arisen between Cliff Temple (in his role as a coach) and one of the athletes in his care, Shireen Bailey. Mr Norman was not approached directly by Mrs Bailey and never discussed the matter with her. The request came from other athletes who informed him that they believed Cliff Temple was trying to exercise more control over her private life than was appropriate.

Mr Norman subsequently met Mr Temple and during the course of a long and friendly conversation raised the matter with him. They discussed the fact that the relationship between coach and athlete was a delicate one but that athletes were entitled to conduct their personal lives in whatever way they saw fit. During the conversation, Mr Norman mentioned that in America Mr Temple's conduct might be viewed as 'sexual harassment'.

During a particularly hectic period in the 1993 athletics season last July when Mr Norman was under considerable pressure, Cliff Temple contacted him and told him that he was proposing to write an investigative article and wanted to discuss a number of specific points.

Mr Norman agreed to meet Mr Temple after the 30 July 1993 meeting at Gateshead and in advance of the World Championships in Stuttgart. However on 23 July 1993, the day of the British Grand Prix at Crystal Palace, Mr Norman received a message from his office that Mr Temple was trying to contact him. Mr Norman decided to call him from his car en route to the meeting. There followed a long and chatty conversation of approximately 40-45 minutes, part of which was recorded by Mr Temple but without Mr Norman's knowledge. During the course of this conversation Mr Norman made a reference to the Shireen Bailey incident.

At the end of the conversation it was agreed that Mr Temple would provide Mr Norman with an opportunity to deal with a number of points before any article was published. Mr Norman made it clear that he would not be able to meet before Gateshead. The reason for this, which he was unable to tell Mr Temple, was his close involvement in the arrangements for the Linford Christie-Carl Lewis 100 metres race at that meeting.

In these circumstances, Mr Norman was naturally upset that Mr Temple's highly critical article was published in the Sunday Times on 1 August 1993. Mr Norman was first made aware of the article as he awaited a flight to Cologne and when asked about it by the ITV commentator who sat next to him on the plane, he reacted angrily. Mr Norman regrets this reaction, which he made clear at the BAF disciplinary hearing.

It has been widely reported in the press that Mr Norman had accused Mr Temple of sexual impropriety and that such an allegation was wholly unfounded and a malicious invention by Mr Norman. Mr Norman categorically denies that he ever made such an allegation or that such an allegation could be made.

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