Athletics: Inquiry into Norman claims: Federation to investigate promotions officer's conduct

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The Independent Online
THE British Athletic Federation is to hold an internal inquiry into allegations linking Andy Norman, the BAF promotions officer, with the suicide of the Sunday Times athletics correspondent, Cliff Temple, whose funeral was held on Monday.

Temple's colleagues in the British Athletics Writers' Association had called for an independent tribunal but are now prepared to wait for the Federation inquiry to be completed before taking further action.

'When Professor Peter Radford takes up his new post as executive chairman of the Federation on 1 February, the investigation of this matter will be one of his first priority tasks,' Tony Ward, the BAF spokesman, said. The five-man management board was due to discuss the issue by telephone last night.

The Federation is to approach the Sunday Times for all the information it has on the affair, including a copy of the tape on which Norman is alleged to have threatened Temple, who had written an article critical of Norman, with accusations that Temple had sexually harassed athletes.

Ward said that the affair had 'plunged British athletics into the abyss'. Whatever the outcome of the inquiry, the Federation's reputation has been damaged by the whole episode, especially as it has emerged that they took two months to discuss the first letter of complaint from the Sunday Times last summer.

On that occasion, Norman, after being questioned about the allegations by Radford and the BAF treasurer, John Lister, gave an assurance that 'such activity would not be repeated'.

The Federation is to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Roger Bannister's sub four-minute mile with a gala dinner at the London Grosvenor House Hotel on 6 May. All 16 surviving men's world mile record-holders have been invited.

All have so far accepted apart from Steve Ovett, and BAF officials are hopeful that he will eventually be able to attend. Former record-holders include Herb Elliott, John Walker, Peter Snell and Jim Ryun.

The oldest living record-holder, Britain's Sydney Wooderson, will be present, as well as the two most recent, Steve Cram and Noureddine Morceli. Sir Roger will be the guest of honour, accompanied by the two men who paced him to the record, Chris Chataway and Chris Brasher.