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‘Credibility in tatters’, but British Cycling’s public funding not under immediate threat

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Public funding UK Sport distributes to British Cycling is not under immediate threat despite the assertion that the governing body’s credibility is in “tatters”.

It was described as such by Culture Media and Sport Committee chair Damian Collins following an explosive hearing into the controversial medical package flown out from British Cycling’s Manchester headquarters to Sir Bradley Wiggins at the 2011 Criterium du Dauphine.

During the hearing, UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) chief executive Nicole Sapstead revealed that there were no records found about the package – which was claimed to be the legal supplement Fluimucil – during a five-month investigation.

In fact, the only records said to be kept were on the laptop of the doctor of British Cycling and Team Sky, Richard Freeman, although the device was “stolen” when the medic was in Greece.

Sapstead said that UKAD was “not able to confirm or refute that it [the package] contained Fluimucil” despite the organisation devoting 1,000 man hours to the investigation.

"The credibility of Team Sky and British Cycling is in tatters - they are in a terrible position,” said Collins following the hearing.

At a press conference yesterday (3 March), UK Sport chief executive Liz Nicholl said the revelations were “shocking” and that the reputation of British Cycling had “taken a big hit”.

She also placed a question mark against the £26m of public and National Lottery funding the organisation will receive for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic cycle, but only if it fails to hit conditions laid out in a separate review set to be published next month.

Money will not be clawed back in light of the claims made by Collins of Sapstead.

A review into alleged bullying and discrimination within British Cycling was launched last April following allegations of sexism levelled at former technical director Shane Sutton.

While eight of the nine allegations against Sutton were dismissed, the review into British Cycling’s “climate and culture” has resumed and requirements will be published.

“Funding agreements will contain conditions regarding these action plans and there will be timescales," added Nicholl.

Chair of British Cycling Jonathan Browning admitted that the body’s World Class Programme had “failures”.

“Our cultures and behaviors must be a focus for the whole organisation and we will work with staff, riders and volunteers to develop a set of common values and behaviours by which the whole of British Cycling will live,” he added.

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Public funding UK Sport distributes to British Cycling is not under immediate threat despite the assertion that the governing body’s credibility is in “tatters”.
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