30 SEP 1998 General News

British clubs back plan for new governing body


British athletics clubs have voted overwhelmingly in favour of proposals for a new governing body 11 months after the British Athletic Federation (BAF) went bankrupt.

Leading British official Chris Chataway told a news conference on Thursday that 52 per cent of British clubs had taken part in a vote on the plans and 97 per cent had backed them.

"I am delighted by the overwhelming endorsement of the proposals," said David Moorcroft, the chief executive of British athletics.

"This will enable the sport to move forward positively and put into action the plans which have been put forward by the sport itself.

Moorcroft, a former world 5,000 metres record holder, tookover as head of the BAF exactly a year ago only to find the federation was heavily in debt.

On October 14, he was forced to announce that the BAF had gone into the hands of interim managers and a new body called UK Athletics '98 was set up under Moorcroft to run the sport while plans for a permanent structure were put into place.
The new body, called Athletics UK, will come into operation from January next year.

Athletics UK will give financial support to the country's top 1,500 to 2,000 athletes and set up a development programme and a competition schedule to cater for athletes at all levels.

British athletics generally has revived this year with the British men's team winning the European Cup to qualify for the World Cup in Johannesburg last month. In August the British team finished top of the medals table at the European championships in Budapest with nine gold medals.

(John Mehaffey - Reuters)