British Cycling chiefs set to be replaced at emergency general meeting

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British Cycling chairman Jonathan Browning says some of the issues within the organisation have been ‘unacceptable’

British Cycling’s board of directors is set to be replaced after the governing body called an emergency meeting next month to vote on reforms.

The likes of chairman Jonathan Browning, who in March apologised for the governing body’s “failings”, will have to reapply for his role.

An investigation into the culture at British Cycling was launched last year following accusations of bullying and sexism against top-level cyclists.

The EGM is scheduled for 22 July.

The other major change that will be voted on is the introduction of a limit for directors of three three-year terms, which would mean six of the eight elected members on the current board would then have to stand down.

All but one of the board members representing English regions would be replaced. The changes are being brought in to adhere to the government’s new governance guidelines for sporting bodies.

A long-awaited report by Annamarie Phelps – the chair of British Rowing – will be published next week following the investigation.

In March, former sprinter Jess Varnish told BBC Sport that the entire British Cycling board should resign after a leaked interim report concluded the findings of an internal review into her claims of bullying against former coach Shane Sutton had been “reversed”.

The draft report said: “The actions of the board in that regard are shocking and inexcusable. They also call into serious question whether the composition of the board is fit to govern a national sporting body.”

Sutton – who denied wrongdoing – was found to have used sexist language towards her, but was cleared of eight of nine allegations against him. Varnish said she has been the victim of “a cover-up”.

The governing body was accused of watering down the findings of an earlier internal review in 2012 by Liz Nicholl, the chief executive of UK Sport.

Meanwhile, UK Anti-Doping continues to investigate British Cycling over various allegations of wrongdoing. A review into its medical practises is underway.

Sport England has allocated £17m to British Cycling to boost participation and UK Sport has said it will provide £26m for the GB Olympic and Paralympic teams’ preparations for Tokyo 2020.

But British Cycling has been warned by Sport England it needs to do more to ease “concerns” over the way it is run if it is to receive the funding.

Both sums depend on complying with sports minister Tracey Crouch’s new governance code, which comes into play in November.

Analysis

BBC sports editor Dan Roan

Amid a period of unprecedented crisis, British Cycling has already undergone huge change, with a new chief executive and performance director, along with the introduction of a 39-point ‘action plan’.

But the turbulence is far from over. After just a few months in charge, it is uncertain whether Jonathan Browning will choose to re-apply to continue as an independent chairman. Given the intense criticism the governing body has faced, it would be no surprise if the highly-regarded former motor executive walked away from his unpaid role.

Meanwhile, almost the entire board will be replaced if these governance reforms are approved. Despite British Cycling’s reputation for elite performance and participation success, after so many damaging allegations surrounding its athlete welfare and anti-doping standards, many will welcome such an overhaul.

However, some of British Cycling’s grassroots council members are unhappy that much of their power will be transferred to the new board, and believe their organisation is being pushed around by UK Sport and Sport England. There could be opposition to the proposed changes at July’s EGM.

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Varnish ‘relieved truth is coming out’

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/cycling/40167721

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