Monday 24 June 2019

Banned UK coach now mentoring Irish girl in Games bid

SHANE PHELAN

A BANNED UK athletics coach -- once at the centre of rape allegations -- was able to gain accreditation to attend a major sporting event as a mentor to an Irish Olympic hopeful.

David Farrow "borrowed" accreditation badges from an Irish coach so he could gain access to restricted areas at the European under-23 championships in Lithuania.

Mr Farrow (52) has been training Irish runner Rose Anne Galligan (21) even though his coaching licence was withdrawn by Britain's athletics governing body two years ago following an investigation.

Ms Galligan, from Robertstown, Co Kildare, is one of the country's most promising young athletes, having this year claimed the Irish 800-metre title.

However, both the Irish Sports Council and Athletics Ireland have expressed concern that she is receiving coaching from Mr Farrow and that he was able to gain accreditation for the European championships during the summer.

But despite their concerns, both bodies have admitted they are powerless to intervene as Mr Farrow is not receiving any payment from them and they have received no guidance on the issue from the International Athletics Federation.

Mr Farrow was questioned by police in his native Gloucester in 2005 after an allegation of rape. He protested his innocence and the police took no further action after releasing him without charge. But he had his coaching licence withdrawn by UK Athletics in 2007 after an investigation found he had "abused his position of trust as a coach". Mr Farrow again protested his innocence, but the ban was upheld by an independent case management committee. He will not be able to reapply for the licence until February 2012.

Despite the ban, he has been providing coaching to Ms Galligan -- a student at St Mary's College in London -- since September of last year.

As an elite athlete, Ms Galligan received funding under the Irish Sports Council's International Carding Scheme, which does not cover coaching costs.

Restricted

In a statement, the Irish Sports Council confirmed Mr Farrow was able to gain access to restricted areas at the European championships. It added that Mr Farrow was not invited or financially supported by the Irish team when he attended the championships.

The council said it "would be concerned if a coach banned in another jurisdiction was involved with an Irish athlete".

"However, unless there is a direction from the international federation, there will be no formal protocols around the matter," the statement added.

A spokesman for Athletics Ireland said: "It is, of course, a matter of concern that a coach banned in another jurisdiction is coaching one of our athletes.

"At all times Ms Galligan was under the direct care and guidance of an Irish female official."

The spokesman said Mr Farrow borrowed an accreditation badge from an Irish coach who was going home early.

When contacted by the Irish Independent, Mr Farrow said: "I don't think there is anything I want to say."

Calls to Ms Galligan seeking comment were not returned.

Irish Independent

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