Over the last year several southern based clubs have met at intervals to discuss the progress of grass roots athletics following seven years of management by UKA Ltd.
After the publication of the Foster Review report in May 2004 further inter-club meetings were held culminating in a decision in September 2004 to carry out a market survey aimed at determining the support for a proposed new Association for athletic clubs. Key factors in this step were the recognition that Sir Andrew Foster did not consult clubs in his Inquiry and that his review report paid little attention to the future role of clubs in developing links between schools and clubs. In effect the grass roots were ignored.
Much has been written about the unaccountability and wastefulness of athletics’ Governing Body – UKA Ltd., and this combined with the Foster plans resulted in many clubs from all parts of the UK confirming support for the formation of ABAC. By January 2005 150 clubs had responded of which only 5 were negative. But a decision to move forward was delayed while the Foster road shows presented updates of the future planned organisational changes to audiences around England. Proposals were outlined to scrap the AAA of England and incorporate a new body to be known as English Athletics which would be responsible to UKA Ltd., and which would manage and resource the proposed 9 “hubs” or “regions”.
Recognising that the details of these plans would not be finalised until June 2005 and that an EGM to wind up the AAA of England is planned for September 2005 it was decided that ABAC needed to be formed without further delay.
The intention is for clubs to be involved in a more meaningful way by direct consultation with those bodies making the decisions and providing the future funding for athletics.
The Inaugural General Meeting of ABAC took place in Ryton on April 9th 2005. Articles and Memorandum of Association were approved and the managing and general committee members elected. ABAC was incorporated on 15th April 2005 as The Association of GB Athletic Clubs.