The chair of the Culture, Media and Sport Committee investigating doping in sport has said that leadership positions at British Cycling and Team Sky may become “untenable” following UK Anti-Doping’s (Ukad) investigation into the two organisations. Damian Collins MP also went on to suggest that public money had been wasted through lack of support for Ukad in its efforts.
Ukad chief executive Nicole Sapstead this week told MPs that more than a thousand man hours had been spent on the investigation without a satisfactory conclusion.
A large part of the problem is said to have been that British Cycling chief medic Dr Richard Freeman – who has also worked at Team Sky – did not properly keep medical records. As well as difficulties establishing what was in a package delivered to Freeman at the 2011 Criterium du Dauphine, a sizeable quantity of Triamcinolone was ordered with no record of to whom it was prescribed or for what reason.
As a consequence, there are now suggestions that the General Medical Council (GMC) could get involved.
Collins told the London Evening Standard: “I think that Ukad must complete their investigation and that investigation may well lead to leadership positions becoming untenable. In addition, the GMC could get involved as laws and rules that apply to medicine have been deviated.”
According to Collins, British Cycling and Team Sky should have shown greater transparency from the outset.
“It’s been so difficult for Ukad to get any records or any information for their investigation,” he said. “It’s disappointing they’ve not made so much effort on their part and it’s clearly a waste of public money if this could have been conducted more quickly.”
Sir Dave Brailsford was boss of both British Cycling and Team Sky when several of the incidents on which the investigation is focusing took place.
However, a Team Sky spokesperson said they were confident he would retain his current position as team principal: “It’s not an issue that’s been raised and we’re confident there’s been no wrongdoing.”
The GMC said they were not able to confirm whether a doctor is under investigation unless they have been suspended and added that Freeman is currently “listed as registered with a licence to practise”.
British Cycling was also warned that it could lose £26 million in funding ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, reports The Telegraph.
Liz Nicholl, the chief executive of government funding body UK Sport, said that it would be a “condition of grant” that various reforms were implemented following recent revelations.
It has been suggested that UK Sport should take some responsibility given it oversees the elite performance system, but the organisation seemingly rejects this.
It said in a statement: “Our no-compromise approach has never been about winning at all costs. Any sport, CEO or performance director who thinks otherwise has fundamentally missed the point. There is no place in our system for unethical or unprofessional conduct.
"The new leadership of British Cycling is committed to this and we are committed to ensuring the entire system learns from mistakes that have been made."
British Cycling yesterday unveiled the key points of an action plan it has drawn up in response to the independent review into the culture of its World Class Programme ordered by UK Sport last year following allegations of bullying and discrimination.