UKA’s latest initiatives confirm it is power mad and going just a bit crazy. The P10 story

If ever we needed proof that UKA Ltd., is run by a bunch of self serving bureaucrats we need look no further than their latest inane proposals. In this article we are going to look at the latest initiatives emanating from our unaccountable governing body. We are not short of examples:

Example 1. Attacking non UKA supported races.

“Run Britain” is a UKA Ltd., initiative designed to attract Sport England funds and generate revenues for the staff employed to promote their activities with the claimed marginal benefit of “giving something back to the sport”.

Three years ago ABAC begat ARC (Association of Running Clubs) to give clubs the opportunity to run their own races at low cost over properly certified courses with insurance cover superior to that offered by UKA. Whereas the UKA organisations are run by paid staff ARC is run by volunteers who are the lifeblood of our sport. Not surprisingly ARC can undercut any costs charged by UKA Ltd., When ARC set up some three year ago the Chairman of UKA Ltd., welcomed the move stating that market forces would provide better value for money. Unfortunately for UKA Ltd., the level of ARC race and permit fees were so much lower than those of our NGB and the bureaucracy was so much less that clubs moved to ARC first at a trickle and then in greater numbers. In order to compete with this trend UKA Ltd ,. reduced fees only for ARC to do the same. This downward spiral of charges has clearly alarmed UKA Ltd., They have now responded.

Within the last week “Run Britain” head – Geoff Wightman- has announced that results from ARC permitted races as well as individual athlete performances will no longer be published on the UKA Ltd., “owned” results web site *Power of Ten” or P10 for short. The reason given is that ARC clubs do not contribute to UKA and therefore are not contributing to the services UKA provide.

What Wightman is hoping is that statisticians will heed his directives and ignore ARC race results. History shows that statisticians are their own people and will cannot be bullied into ignoring legitimate performances. There is no doubt that UKA Ltd’s decision presents a dilemma for Athletics Weekly who run the P10 scheme for UKA Ltd., Which way will AW jump?

ABAC Comment. What UKA means is that some of the salaries of their staff are not now being met by the revenue from UKA permitted road races. We remember that just a few years ago the non affiliated running levies went to the Territorial Associations and Counties and were used for the direct benefit of clubs and their members – not to paying the salaries of governing body fat cats.

Let us remind UKA Ltd., that P10 was set up using grants from Sport England from lottery funds and taxpayers. Their proposals to control its actions are outrageous. If UKA Ltd think P10 is the only show in town let them not forget that many prefer to access the “Tops in Athletics” results service website or TOPS for short. P10 is not all that AW claims and this latest UKA Ltd nonsense will give a great boost to TOPS. UKA Ltd are on a loser here. Bless them!

Example 2. Attacking League Track and Field clubs.

The UKA Ltd., Fixtures Conference held in Birmingham during the first week in November 2010 has stipulated that Men’s League track and field fixtures in 2011 will require permits. These will only be issued if match dates fall in line with UKA Ltd’s., fixtures schedules. (At present they do not) We are informed that not all of the 2011 Southern men’s league dates comply with the UKA plans and that as a result these matches will not be covered by UKA Ltd., insurance nor will the results be included on the P10 website.

ABAC Comment. Yet another example of the use of a big stick by our unelected governing body. Were clubs and leagues consulted? Of course not. But some league AGM’s are yet to take place so this topic has still got some legs to it. Watch this space

Example 3. Alienating Sports Journalists.

The British Athletics Writers’ annual awards dinner, which has been the sport’s annual celebration each autumn for since 1963, will not be taking place in 2010. Journalists are blaming UKA Ltd., for an attempted “takeover” of their long established event.

UKA Ltd., and Aviva are now to stage their own awards in Loughborough next month.

Apparently Aviva wanted to promote the dinner and to get shared billing with the British Athletics Writers Association (BAWA) who have decided that they and Aviva will go their own separate ways. BAWA are now trying to set up their own awards dinner, probably early in 2011.

ABAC Comment. Another tradition bites the dust as the controlling hand of Aviva inexorably strangles the traditions and operations of those closest to the sport’s heart. It is extraordinary to see the extent to which the main sponsor of athletics over recent years has used the large sums of money entrusted to UKA Ltd., to maximise its media exposure. Are we alone in decrying the use of Aviva’s brand name on UK team titles? In what other sport do we see the National team names diluted with that of its main sponsor.? Aviva and UKA Ltd., have not endeared themselves to athletic journalists which may well prove to be (excuse the mixed metaphors) the thin end of a Trojan horse.