Athletics: Athletics sinks into turmoil as BAF goes bust

The British Athletic Federation announced yesterday that it has run out of money, leaving top athletes unpaid and future competitions in jeopardy. Mike Rowbottom, Athletics Correspondent, heard the whole sorry story at the Federation's Birmingham HQ.

The future of British athletics was thrown into turmoil last night with the announcement that the main governing body is insolvent.

The British Athletic Federation, unable to meet an immediate deficit of pounds 530,000 and projected running costs of pounds 4,000 per day, handed itself over to administrators at 2pm yesterday.

It fell to the unfortunate Dave Moorcroft, newly installed as BAF chief executive, to explain what he described as the federation's "catastrophic" financial situation. "I am devastated by what has happened," Britain's former world 5,000m record holder, said.

Britain's leading athletes, including their team captain, Roger Black, and Colin Jackson, have yet to be paid for their competitive efforts this year. And the immediate clampdown on any further outgoings means that the domestic competitions BAF was promoting for next year are now open to question.

Black, who was a prime mover in setting up the British Athletes Association last year, expressed concern for the future of the sport's rising talents.

"I am concerned about my short-term financial situation, but it is more a question of what will happen to younger runners like Mark Richardson, Jamie Baulch and Iwan Thomas. What is their future?

"When you are 24 you live and breathe the sport. If you want to win medals, you have to be a full-time athlete. Athletics has always provided that way in the past. They deserve to be in a sport where they can still be on the world stage."

Jackson, whose dispute with the previous BAF chief executive, Peter Radford, was at the heart of the 1995 disagreements, denied that athletes had contributed to the current situation by asking for too much in appearance money. "You can't blame us," he said. "If the Federation are willing to pay us, we are worth our market value."

Three years ago, the BAF, which was set up in 1991, had reserves of pounds 1.2m. Since then, however, sponsorship and television revenue has dwindled - sponsorship income was down by 45 per cent this year, while unpredictable costs, including legal fees, have risen steeply.

"Revenue has fallen, while our costs have remained at a fixed level," Moorcroft said. "We are in a very competitive market with a lot of other sports."

The contract to show domestic British athletics was not renewed by ITV last year - the company was alienated by the dispute over appearance money, which kept competitors such as Linford Christie and Colin Jackson out of key meetings in 1995.

In 1996, the BAF got pounds 1.5m from ITV. This year the Federation began a four-year contract with Channel 4 worth pounds 3.3m.

The question of whether Channel 4 will now have anything to show is now the responsibility of Moore, Stephens, Booth, Wright - the insolvency firm managing the BAF on an interim basis. They must decide within the next few weeks how best to satisfy the BAF's creditors, and whether any parts of the business can still be viable.

The jobs of all 36 BAF employees, including Moorcroft, who took up his pounds 70,000 per year post on 1 October, are in jeopardy. That number also includes all eight national coaches, including figures such as Bruce Longden, who guided the careers of Daley Thompson and Sally Gunnell, and Carl Johnson, who has coached Britain's world triple jump record holder, Jonathan Edwards.

Yesterday's announcement will not affect the National Lottery award recently made to the sport within the World Class Performance programme - pounds 1.4m for a coaching development plan and pounds 1.1m worth of individual subsistence money. That funding is ring-fenced.

But the foundations to the sport now look in danger of crumbling away. For the past two months, a shortfall in funds for BAF's regional coaching scheme has been met by the Amateur Athletic Association of England, at the cost of pounds 90,000. However the AAA, which has reserves of more than pounds 1m, has not offered further assistance.

"The reaction from them is that there is no reaction," Moorcroft said. "A lot of people within the sport will be looking very closely at this. I think everyone ought to be thinking to themselves, `have I been part of the process that has caused this downfall?' "

Moorcroft said the costs for the legal action being brought by Diane Modahl had had a big effect. "Not having to pay that would have eased the situation, but it wouldn't have solved the problem of the budget. The forecast for the future was negative - that's the stark reality.

"Maybe because of this awful situation there will be a re-structuring of the sport. In the future, it will be less about dependence on revenue and more about Sports Council funding."

Life and Style
“What is it like being a girl?” was the question on the lips of one inquisitive Reddit user this week
News
peopleDave Legeno, the actor who played werewolf Fenrir Greyback in the Harry Potter films, has died
Arts and Entertainment
Armando Iannucci, the creator of 'The Thick of It' says he has
tvArmando Iannucci to concentrate on US show Veep
Life and Style
beauty
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Luis Suarez looks towards the crowd during the 2-1 victory over England
transfers
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

Sport
German supporters (left) and Argentina fans
world cup 2014Final gives England fans a choice between to old enemies
Arts and Entertainment
A still from the worldwide Dawn of the Planet of the Apes trailer debut
film
News
peopleMario Balotelli poses with 'shotgun' in controversial Instagram pic
News
A mugshot of Ian Watkins released by South Wales Police following his guilty pleas
peopleBandmates open up about abuse
Sport
Basketball superstar LeBron James gets into his stride for the Cleveland Cavaliers
sportNBA superstar announces decision to return to Cleveland Cavaliers
Sport
Javier Mascherano of Argentina tackles Arjen Robben of the Netherlands as he attempts a shot
world cup 2014
Arts and Entertainment
The successful ITV drama Broadchurch starring David Tenant and Olivia Coleman came to an end tonight
tv
Sport
Four ski officials in Slovenia have been suspended following allegations of results rigging
sportFour Slovenian officials suspended after allegations they helped violinist get slalom place
News
14 March 2011: George Clooney testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during a hearing titled 'Sudan and South Sudan: Independence and Insecurity.' Clooney is co-founder of the Satellite Sentinel Project which uses private satellites to collect evidence of crimes against civilian populations in Sudan
people
Arts and Entertainment
Balaban is indirectly responsible for the existence of Downton Abbey, having first discovered Julian Fellowes' talents as a screenwriter
tvCast members told to lose weight after snacking on set
Life and Style
More than half of young adults have engaged in 'unwanted but consensual sexting with a committed partner,' according to research
tech
Life and Style
A binge is classed as four or more alcoholic drinks for women and five or more for men, consumed over a roughly two-hour period
tech
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

JavaScript Developer (Angular, Web Forms, HTML5, Ext JS,CSS3)

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: JavaScript Dev...

BC2

£50000 - £70000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Business Analyst Consultant (Fina...

SAP Data Migration Consultant

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client, a FTSE 100 organisation are u...

Programme Support, Coms, Bristol, £300-350p/d

£300 - £350 per day + competitive: Orgtel: My client, a leading bank, is curre...

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice