Thursday 5 December 2019

UK Athletics opens independent review into dealings with Mo Farah's former coach and Nike Oregon Project

Coach Alberto Salazar with two of his most successful athletes American Galen Rupp (left) and Britain’s Mo Farah. Photo: PA
Coach Alberto Salazar with two of his most successful athletes American Galen Rupp (left) and Britain’s Mo Farah. Photo: PA Newsdesk Newsdesk

UK Athletics has commissioned an independent review into its dealing with Alberto Salazar and his Nike Oregon Project.

The American coach, who worked with Mo Farah from 2011 to 2017, was banned for four years by the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) in October and this month announced he would be challenging the sanction at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Farah, who has won gold in the 5,000m and 10,000m at each of the last two Olympics, has never failed a drugs test and has always strenuously denied breaking any anti-doping regulations.

The independent review, led by sports law barrister John Mehrzad, is expected to publish its findings "in or around Spring 2020" on a range of specific questions relating to UKA's response to allegations against Salazar in 2015 and 2017.

Mehrzad, who sat on the review panel into climate and culture at British Cycling and chaired a review into governance at the British Equestrian Federation, will address several specific questions about the governing body's actions and processes.

They will specifically concern the UKA review into a Panorama investigation 'Catch me if you can' and the USADA leak by the 'Fancy Bears' group in 2017.

UKA chair Chris Clark said: "Our staff, athletes and coaches show immense dedication to this sport and are proud to be associated with British Athletics. We need to ensure we have a clear way forward that gives us confidence in the integrity of our coaching efforts.

"If there are lessons to be learnt, we plan to implement any recommendations into a future focused, transparent and accountable way of working."

Sarah Rowell, who chaired the 2015 review of the Nike Oregon Project, said: "There has been much written about what the Oregon Project review looked into, found or concluded in 2015, and I therefore welcome this review as an opportunity to establish the full facts and for those facts to be published for all to see."

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