Radford insists his sport is back on track

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The Independent Online
Athletics

British athletics is on the road to recovery after two years in the red - but there will have to be cutbacks along the way.

The British Athletic Federation executive chairman, Peter Radford, pointed the way forward when announcing a restructuring of the troubled sport's financial affairs. The BAF has lost about pounds 500,000 this year, on top of pounds 250,000 in 1995.

There will be a key role for the new company to be set up with top athletes to run major televised meetings and restore them to profit. Empty seats caused serious concern last season and the federation admits the meetings require greater investment.

More than pounds 1m a year will be sought from the National Lottery to fund a trust providing key services to athletes and teams. Also, a charitable foundation is to be relaunched and developed to help the grass roots.

"I am convinced that the sport is in good shape," Radford said, "and that we are poised to enter a new era of success."

A pounds 4m four-year kit deal with Reebok and the imminent signing of a new television contract have started to put the federation back on track. One of its long-term aims is to bring the World Championships to Britain for the first time in 2001.

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