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Funding for British Cycling under threat – report

British Cycling pursuit team 2007
Joe Delves
16 Mar 2017

Sport England wants BC boardroom clearout for funding to continue, The Times claims

Sport England’s board are meeting on Tuesday to discuss their continued funding of British Cycling. The organisation, which distributes both government and lottery funding, has already put British Cycling on notice that it needs to reform if it expects to receive the £17 million of funding it’s currently been earmarked. 

The Times reports Sport England as saying ‘the conditions for the grant of British Cycling have not yet been finalised’. These conditions could well include demands for a change of personnel at boardroom level. 

Former VW executive Jonathan Browning was brought in to replaced Bob Howden as chairman in February after a difficult few months for British Cycling following allegations relating to its relationship with Team Sky.

Both organisations have come under intense scrutiny by the government's Culture, Media and Sport Committee inquiry into combatting doping in sport. The inquiry also examined an alleged culture of bullying within British Cycling’s performance programme. 

It’s British Cycling’s own investigation into these allegations, specifically the treatment of track sprinter Jess Varnish that has landed their new head in hot water. 

An early version of a report by a five-strong independent panel, led by British Rowing chair Annamarie Phelps and leaked to the Daily Mail’s Matt Lawton contained allegations that British Cycling deliberately hid the findings of its own investigation.

The revisions went as far as to reverse the findings of British Cycling’s own grievance officer relating to Varnish’s treatment by Shane Sutton and other coaching staff. 

The daft report described as inexcusable the decision to reverse the findings relating to Varnishes complaints, and called into question the senior governance of the organisation. 

Since then Phelps’ report has been repeatedly delayed. Despite this several subsequent leaked versions have emerged, each time with a different remit and interpretation of the evidence. 

With Browning on the board at the time that British Cycling appear to have reversed their own findings relating to Varnish’s allegations, she has called for his resignation, along with that of the entire board.

With the initial independent panel appearing to find that Varnish was dismissed as an act of retaliation for criticising British Cycling’s coaching staff, she has also not ruled out suing the organisation.

Since then Sport England have been reluctant to back Browning and have expressed their desire to see significant reform within the organisation, although stopped short of calling for resignations. 

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