Plans for peace on the track proposed

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The Independent Online
Athletics

Following a season marred by team selection and pay disputes, British athletes are to form their own association to deal directly with the sport's administrators.

Linford Christie, Jonathan Edwards and Sally Gunnell are among the leading performers involved in creating a forum for "an exchange of views and a mutually beneficial increase in co-operation". The initiative is coordinated by Roger Black and Geoff Parsons. Missing from the list, however, is Colin Jackson, who has vowed to boycott any BAF events.

"An association would place the athlete firmly at the centre of the decision- making process," Black said. "We have to get away from this 'us and them' situation. It is crucial to the well-being of the sport. A lot of the problems can be sorted out if people are prepared to sit round the table and communicate."

The move was welcomed by the British Athletic Federation, which has been at odds for months with many of the athletes. "This heralds a new era," Peter Radford, the BAF executive chairman, said. "There has been a need for such a group for some time."

As a sign of goodwill, the BAF postponed tomorrow's announcement of selection policy for next year's Olympics to allow for consultation with athletes.

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