Distance runner found guilty of misconduct by UK Athletics after comments on a podcast regarding the alleged faking of Covid tests
Andy Butchart has been found guilty of misconduct by UK Athletics but will represent Great Britain in the 5000m at the Olympics after he received a suspended ban.
Following an investigation by the Independent Disciplinary Committee of UK Athletics, Butchart received a 12-month suspension from athletics (suspended for 24 months), a £5000 fine, a warning as to his future conduct and an order to provide a public apology to UKA.
In being found guilty of misconduct, the IDC said: “The respondent [Butchart] made certain statements which were more fully set out in the letter of charge of July 1 and in so doing behaved in a manner which was disgraceful to or opposed to the general interest of the complainant [UKA] or the sport of athletics or which brought the sport into disrepute.”
The second charge, however, was not upheld. That charge related to the alleged falsification of a PCR test on a now deleted podcast on June 27.
The IDC added: “Even though the committee at times doubted the veracity of the evidence given by the respondent it felt that the evidence produced by the complainant [UKA] fell short of the proof required for them to find that he had actually falsified a PCR Test and therefore did not uphold the complaint of the complainant.”
Butchart finished sixth at the Rio Olympics and the 29-year-old said that he had faked a negative-test result to return to the UK after a race in the USA. He also claimed that others had done the same. Butchart denied falsifying a PCR test.
“I’m not going to get in trouble from the police or anything like that,” said Butchart, on the podcast.
“You have to get a Covid test to get into the UK, so you went to a place to get a PCR test before 48 hours – and I’m with check-in and I don’t have my PCR test back. So you have to quickly, like, get an old PCR test, go on to Instagram, f***ing scribble out the time and the date, change the time and the date, and change it so you can get into the country, the Scot added on the podcast.
“Obviously Covid is huge but it’s quite annoying. Everybody has faked PCR tests, I’m sure, to try and go somewhere, because it’s just so hard.”
In their written decision reasons, the IDC concluded: “The committee upheld the complaint on the first charge (misconduct) and whilst not being entirely convinced of his innocence on the second charge (falsifying a PCR test) felt that the complainant [UKA] had failed to provide sufficient hard evidence that he had falsified a certificate even if he might have considered doing so.”
However, the committee added that Butchart had created “disastrous results not only for the reputation of the sport, but for he himself” and “he knew that what he was saying was wrong and indeed what he had done was wrong.”
The heats of the 5000m are on August 3 while the final is on August 6.