Clubs key says Scottish Athletics' Ian Beattie as Richard Bowker quits

Scottish Athletics chair Ian Beattie has backed calls for a root and branch review of the sport after the embattled chair of UK Athletics, Richard Bowker, finally quit after a campaign to force his resignation.
Ian Beattie, chair of Scottish Athletics. Picture: Jane BarlowIan Beattie, chair of Scottish Athletics. Picture: Jane Barlow
Ian Beattie, chair of Scottish Athletics. Picture: Jane Barlow

It follows three months of pressure on the former Virgin Rail executive to step down in a row over his strategic vision for the sport and his much-criticised plans to effectively merge UKA with England Athletics.

After a motion of no-confidence was pushed through last month by the governing UK Athletics Members Council, Scottish chiefs led moves to ensure his formal removal through internal governance procedures.

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Although that was all but guaranteed to cut short his tenure after less than two years by the middle of February, Bowker will officially leave his post at the end of this month, with ex-Olympic marathon runner Sarah Rowell taking interim charge.

Major changes are now needed, Beattie insisted, with the sport accused of failing to capitalise on the legacy of the London 2012 Olympics.

“We need to get all of the sport in the UK working together – from the elite to the clubs to officials and grassroots,” Beattie said. “It’s been disconnected up to now. UK Athletics, even before Richard, has focused on events, governance and high performance. It wasn’t interested in clubs. But if you look at the likes of Laura Muir and Callum Hawkins, they came through those clubs.

“I think Richard understood that actually. But he went about things the wrong way. But now it’s important now that a new chair comes in quickly.”

Bowker’s exit will also delay the search for a new chief executive for UKA which has yet to be begin. Previous boss Niels de Vos left last September with ex-Scottish Athletics supremo Nigel Holl set to remain in temporary charge for the foreseeable future.

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