Athletics: Norman receives support

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The Independent Online
A LETTER of support for Andy Norman, whose role as the British Athletic Federation's promotions officer is under investigation, is said to have generated some favourable reaction after being circulated to 60 county and area athletics associations as well as senior BAF officers, writes Mike Rowbottom.

Thurrock Harriers, of whom Norman is a vice-president, has put the case for him keeping his job despite the controversy in which he has been accused of threatening Cliff Temple, the writer and coach, who committed suicide in January.

Peter Orpin, the Thurrock vice-chairman, said the four- page letter which he wrote with committee approval was the only way of balancing what he saw as an orchestrated press campaign against Norman.

'I have put it on the agenda of every major athletics organisation in this country,' Orpin, who has known Norman for more than 30 years, said. 'Andy is a hard man, but he has had to be. When I saw him about 14 days ago he was pretty low. He thought he didn't have a friend in the world. He's perked up a lot in the last day or so.'

Norman, who has been absent from work on sick leave, will face a disciplinary hearing within the next few weeks, according to BAF.

Meanwhile, an event which Norman has been influential in bringing to Crystal Palace this year, the IAAF World Cup, has aroused wrath north of the border following this week's announcement that it will be shifted forward a day to finish on Sunday, 11 September.

That was the scheduled date for the Edinburgh Mile which Mike Wilson, its organiser, is now considering staging on 25 September.