Our friends across the pond have other issues. Their financial challenges since 2017 have been well known. Only in the last two years have the right questions been asked, and under Ian Beattie, chair of UKA, a plan has come about to remedy those issues. Stuart Weir wrote this piece about how UKA is responding to its challenges.
In most cases, interested parties do not have issues with federations when they have financial issues as long as they are developing plans to correct them and build the sport. UKA is in that process. We wish them much success.
UK Athletics announce a loss.
The UK Athletics annual accounts for the year ending 31 March 2022 show a loss of £1.8 (approximately $2.2 Million). Ian Beattie, who became chair of UKA about halfway through the financial year, commented:
“There are multiple reasons that UKA finds itself in this position, but in overall terms, the financial commitments made in recent years have exceeded the income that we have been able to generate, compounded by a significant shortfall in the commercial area.
“The severe cost challenges from operating during the pandemic and the impact on event income have remained a factor in the 2021-22 financial year. A number of changes in staffing structures and associated payments have also added to this pressure, as have significant unbudgeted but essential costs incurred in the safeguarding area.
“As a result, I, as Chair, our CEO Jack Buckner and the senior team now in place at UKA have been working hard on a number of areas to ensure that we turn around our financial position, rebuild our reserves and reverse the downward trend in our finances”.
Beyond the issues of finance, the annual report documents the performances and successes of British athletes competing at three major championships across one summer, as well as a host of other international competitions. Beattie stressed that the challenging financial position “does not impact upon the performance team or the World Class Programme operations, which continue to be well supported by UK Sport and the funding we are provided from the National Lottery”. The World Class Programme is the funding given to 66 British Athletes through the UK Athletics Olympic World Class Programme for 2022/23 and a similar number of Paralympic athletes.
Beattie also referred to “staff and structural changes with some high-salaried positions removed from the structure, whilst maintaining expertise and knowledge within the organisation”. These include the departure of head coach Christian Malcolm whose post was made redundant after the summer.
The structure of track and field in the UK is complicated, with England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland having a separate governing bodies. Beattie stated that UKA had “begun the transfer of some areas of activity to our colleagues within the Home Country Athletics Federations, including some areas of development work in the officials and coaches area, along with lower level competition licencing. We believe that these changes are the right way forward for the sport, placing responsibility with the Home Countries who are better placed to perform this work”. It will also help UKA’s budgetary problems.
UKA has a contract allowing the use of the London Stadium (2012 Olympic stadium) for one month of the year. The financial challenges have re-opened the question of whether UKA would be open to tearing up the contract in exchange for a significant pay-off. Ian Beattie made clear in a briefing that no offer has been received.
See the full UKA 2021-22 financial year accounts: (Follow this link)