Job losses imminent at national governing body as new chief executive Jo Coates begins restructuring process

Jo Coates, the new chief executive of UK Athletics, says the “difficult news” of cutting staff at the national governing body is “essential for the health of the sport moving forwards”.

It has been a tough year for the sport with the coronavirus pandemic resulting in the summer season being decimated. Diamond League events in London and Gateshead were called off and the British Championships was held without paying spectators.

Given this is it perhaps little surprise that the governing body has announced a staff restructure today (Sept 9) as one of a series of measures that aim to rebuild the organisation after a turbulent period and to maintain the financial viability of the organisation.

Coates will be keen to avoid a repeat of 1997 when the governing body went bankrupt and this week a month-long consultation process began which will result in a reduction of the governing body’s head count. There is speculation that around a fifth to a quarter of staff could leave in a streamlining process.

READ MORE: Interview with Joanna Coates

Coates said: “This announcement is difficult news for some but also essential for the health of the sport moving forwards.

“There are a number of factors that have meant we need to reduce our head count, not being able to stage our biggest events this summer will obviously have had a significant financial impact as will the changing face of our broadcast arrangements.

“But it’s important to note that regardless of these issues the business would still have seen a lot of changes take place at this time. As a sport we are rebuilding and I have often used the term needing a ‘rewire’. Whilst change can be incredibly difficult, it is also an opportunity for us to ensure we are a healthy governing body, with a long-term strategy delivering successfully through to 2032.

“We have a new approach, putting the athletes first and a strategy that will see us putting the athletics family at the heart of what we do. Today is another step towards realising that goal.”

UKA employs 50 performance staff and 60 administrative staff and the organisation is looking to share more resources with England Athletics, although the latter has also been trimming its staff too.

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