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British Cycling likely to remove six longstanding board members

British Cycling pursuit team 2007
Joseph Delves
6 Jun 2017

Two-thirds of the board accused of presiding over a culture of bullying and cover-up set to go

It started with allegations of sexist bullying and ended with an investigation into their relationship with Team Sky and a parliamentary investigation. Now British Cycling are set to cull the majority of the directors who presided over a miserable period for the national federation.

When Olympic track sprinter Jess Varnish accused coach Shane Sutton of sexism in 2016 it set in motion an investigation into the culture at British Cycling’s famous medal factory.

British Cycling initially cleared their coach of major wrongdoing, but with other riders speaking out about their experiences an independent report was commissioned.

This was repeatedly leaked, with the final publication bearing little relation to the original’s finding, leading to claims of a cover up presided over at board level.

Simultaneously the investigation into British Cycling’s attitude towards its female athletes brought to light the fact that the man employed to coach their women's team was also delivering jiffy bags of unknown contents to Team Sky in France.

This sucked the organisation into the Government’s inquiry into combating doping in sport, along with a separate UK Anti-Doping investigation.

UK Sport, who had previously doled out significant chunks of public money to British Cycling, were not best pleased and threatened to cut off the cash unless they saw significant reform.

All of which leads to today’s reform proposals that would see a significant number of British Cycling's directors replaced.

The reforms will be tabled at an emergency general meeting to be held on 22nd July, before being voted on by the 125,000 members.

Despite former chief executive Ian Drake having vacated his post at the beginning of the year, and the appointment of a new chairman in Jonathan Browning, along with a new chief executive in Julie Harrington, the proposed reforms are thought necessary if the organisation is to continue receiving public funding.

Along with increasing the number of independent directors and the appointment of an independent chair, the reforms would see president Bob Howden having to reapply for his role on the board.

Crucially the proposals would also limit directors to three three-year terms. This means that of the eight elected members, the six most longstanding would be ineligible to continue in their roles, and must stand down.

However, with the proposals needing support from the majority of rank and file members they may still face opposition from those who reject increased outside influence on the governing of the national cycling body.

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