British Cycling could reportedly lose millions of pounds of funding for its grassroots programmes unless it makes changes at the top of the organisation, it has been reported.
The funding, which comes from Sport England, is separate to the £26 million in elite funding that UK Sport has allocated for the current Olympic cycle to the beleaguered governing body.
In December, British Cycling was the biggest beneficiary of Sport England funding awarded to various governing bodies for the next four years, being allocated £17.3 million which comes from the public purse as well as the National Lottery.
The money is aimed at getting more people active, including becoming involved in sport, and would be spent on initiatives such as building facilities – British Cycling has helped finance a number of new off-road circuits across the country in recent years – training coaches, and programmes aimed at getting people onto two wheels and develop their cycling skills.
But according to The Times, some of the directors of Sport England, which has a board meeting next Tuesday, want to see changes in British Cycling’s leadership following last week’s leaking of the independent review panel’s report into allegations of bullying and discrimination at the governing body.
The report said that there was a “serious question whether the composition of the British Cycling Board is fit to govern a national sporting body.”
In order to access the grant, British Cycling needs to comply with certain standards of governance and Sport England told The Times that “The conditions for the grant of British Cycling have not yet been finalised.”
Among senior British Cycling figures in the firing line are Jonathan Browning, who was appointed chairman last month replacing Bob Howden, who remains president. His appointment was sanctioned by both UK Sport and Sport England.
The independent review found that the governing body’s board “sanitised” an internal report into allegations of sexism raised by track sprinter Jess Varnish against former Great Britain Cycling Team technical director Shane Sutton.
That may have repercussions for Browning, since before taking on his current role he was a non-executive director of the organisation, although last week, UK Sport denied reports that it had demanded that he resign.
British Cycling has already announced details of an action plan to address the issues raised by the independent review, and a spokesman said: “The board of British Cycling is wholly committed to embracing the draft recommendations and findings of the independent review, and has already drawn up a detailed action plan.
“While the board may disagree with the factual accuracy of certain points or commentary in the draft independent review, it believes the sport is best served by driving forward the implementation of the action plan that was announced with the support of UK Sport and Sport England.”
In the year to 31 March 2016, grants to British Cycling – primarily from UK Sport and Sport England – stood at £17.0 million and made up 56 per cent of the organisation’s £30.6 million funding for the year.
Fees from members, at £4.0 million, were the next biggest item on the income statement followed by sponsorship and rights fees at £3.2 million and income from events at £3.0 million.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.