Inside Lines: Hunt in jeopardy after not consulting Coe on job cuts

 

In moving so hastily to push through his restructuring plans before the anticipated accession of Lord Coe to the chair of the British Olympic Association, the organisation's chief executive, Andy Hunt, has put his own future in doubt.

Coe will be annoyed to learn that Hunt intends to axe performance director Sir Clive Woodward, a figure he much admires and would wish to retain, and implement other changes before he stands for election on 7 November.

The 2012 supremo, expected to succeed Lord Moynihan, is keen to be involved in any shake-up at the BOA but has not been consulted on Hunt's cost-cutting blueprint which includes merging some top jobs and shedding others. Hunt, hired by Moynihan five years ago, resisted attempts to bring forward the election and is among those who have urged British hockey chief Richard Leman, a close friend of Moynihan, to stand against Coe.

If Coe wins, it seems unlikely Hunt will stay, with Coe looking to install Woodward as chef de mission for the Sochi winter Games in 2014 and Rio's 2016 summer Games, a part-time appointment which would cut the BOA's wage bill and leave the former England rugby coach free to pursue other lucrative media and sporting interests.

There was great regard for Woodward's role as deputy leader to Hunt during 2012, less so for Hunt's, his daily deluge of social media cheerleading lampooned by the twitterati as the work of 'Randy Shunt'. If Hunt, currently in Rio seeking an early GB preparation camp, does go the UK Athletics chief executive Neil de Vos would be high on Coe's list.

Woodward's grip on judo

While he awaits the outcome of in-fighting at the BOA, Sir Clive Woodward is on the mat – the judo variety. He is chairing an independent review into the future of a sport which was saved by the belles in the London Games, the first Olympic medals in 12 years being won by Gemma Gibbons and Karina Bryant.

As at the BOA, an election for a new British Judo Association chair is pending with Densign White, husband of Tessa Sanderson, standing down. He had been accused of "rotten leadership" by veteran Olympian Winston Gordon after critcising some athletes. Woodward has been asked to conduct "a root and branch review" of how to find future Olympic medallists, heading a group which includes former FA chief executive Mark Palios and top judo coach Roy Inman who is also standing for the BJA chairmanship.

A more controversial candidate is Kerrith Brown, stripped of the bronze he won at the 1988 Seoul Olympics for using a banned substance. Funding body UK Sport are keeping a watching brief on the election and if not satisfied with the outcome could seek to impose an independent chair, as they have with fencing.

Is this something Woodward might get to grips with?

Olympic Stadium bubbles

The success of the Olympics and Paralympics has heightened the desire of West Ham to move into the Stratford stadium, a move set to be rubber-stamped next month.

Leyton Orient and the UCFB College of Football Business have also tabled bids but a proposal to turn it into part of a Formula 1 circuit seems a non-starter. The Hammers board see the advantages of the club riding on the back of Olympic glory and are more enthused than before the Games about reaching a deal to lease the £486m stadium, as is Upton Park legend Sir Geoff Hurst.

"I was impressed with what I saw of it during the Olympics," he says. "I had my doubts before, but now believe it would be a perfect fit for the club."

The fact that the stadium is also under consideration as a 2015 rugby World Cup venue coincides with the arrival of 2012 sports director Debbie Jevans as the tournament's chief executive.

insidelines@independent.co.uk

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