David Kenworthy, the chairman of UK Anti-Doping (UKAD), says the government has told his organisation to expect a cut of up to 25 per cent. As a result, he believes Ukad may not survive, and warns: “If we don’t, the integrity of UK sport is at risk.”
UKAD currently has a budget of £7m, which is largely made up of state funding. Speaking to the BBC, Kenworthy said: "UKAD would be in jeopardy if we had large cuts – like 25 per cent cuts – because the purpose for which we're here, I'm not sure we could fulfil it properly."
Last year UKAD conducted 8,728 tests across 40 sports and speaking about the challenges of managing on a reduced budget, Kenworthy said:
“Something’s got to give, so the testing certainly would go. I mean tests are very expensive. A standard urine sample to be analysed costs £371. You’ve heard a lot in recent months about the athlete biological passport. That costs £439 to do each test for an ABP.
“So those are areas where we can make instant savings. I have to say I’d be horrified if we had to reduce our intelligence and investigations because we are dealing there with not just the athletes, but with the suppliers, the coaches – the people who are encouraging athletes to dope.”
A government spokesperson said that decisions on future funding would be made at a spending review on November 25, but added that it had been made clear that all parts of the public sector would be required to find savings through efficiencies and reforming the way things are done in a bid to ‘deliver more with less’.
Kenworthy said that one potential means of bridging the funding gap would be for sports to step up and pay for some of the work that is carried out by UKAD.
"Think about the amount of money that goes into sport in this country. Sixty-six medals are forecast for Rio – at a cost of £4.6m for each medal. That's almost our budget – for one medal. If one of those medals if proved to be false, the damage done to our reputation is enormous. I'd hate to see the integrity of this country sacrificed.
"The money that goes through our turnstiles is huge, as is the broadcasting rights money. All that money is invested in sport, and the only one keeping us clean is UKAD."