British Cycling is to furlough 90 members of staff – around one third of its workforce – due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the governing body’s CEO has confirmed.
The organisation said that it was forced to make the decision for financial reasons as it faces a drop in income of up to £4 million in the coming months due to the cancellation of events.
Last month, it confirmed that it had suspended all sanctioned events until at least the end of April.
Since then, world cycling’s governing body, the UCI, has suspended all racing until at least 1 June, with all national federations required to follow suit.
The road national championships, due to have been held in the West Midlands in June, have already been postponed.
British Cycling CEO Julie Harrington said: “The COVID-19 virus means every section of society is facing an unprecedented challenge, and sport is no different.
“For British Cycling, it meant suspending all our sanctioned activity, including the events registered with us. That was the right decision and one taken to protect the health and well-being of everyone involved in what we do.
“British Cycling is a not-for-profit organisation with any revenue we generate invested into the sport. Because a significant part of that revenue comes from events – including a proportion of entry fees and other associated payments which go toward administering the sport – and because the majority of cycling events take place over the spring and summer months, we are planning for a significant drop in income of around £4 million.
“As the governing body for cycling in Britain, we are committed to honouring our duty to act in the best interests of our members and our sport.
“Therefore, we are taking steps to protect the federation, as well as the jobs of our employees, by using some of the measures announced by the Government in recent weeks, including the furloughing of some of our staff through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.”
Under the scheme, employers are able to keep workers on the payroll instead of laying them off and can claim up to 80 per cent of their wages, up to a maximum of £2,500 per month per employee, from the government.
Harrington said: “At this stage, 90 roles – around a third of the workforce – will be furloughed, the majority in April and some in May.
“This is a tough decision we have taken with care. We know that it may mean difficulties for some employees who are being furloughed so we have put in place measures to support them, including offering financial advice and access to learning and development tools. Other steps we are taking to manage the impact on our revenue include a 10 per cent pay cut in May and June for myself and members of my leadership team.
“Employees who are being furloughed are among those we will rely on to ensure our sport can return with strength and, while they cannot work for British Cycling during this period, they are still part of our team.”
She continued: “I would like to thank the Government for the measures they have taken which mean we can preserve jobs. I would also like to thank British Cycling’s members, Sport England, UK Sport and our lead partner HSBC UK for their continued backing in difficult times.
“I know that today many people are discovering or rediscovering the benefits of cycling for transport and for exercise. I also know that across the country there are many people who care deeply about our sport – volunteers, event organisers and officials, and others – who are looking forward to the day when organised cycling can return.
“I want to reiterate to all of them that British Cycling retains its commitment to working hard for our members, for our sport and for anyone who loves getting on a bike,” Harrington added.
British Cycling had already been facing an uncertain future in financial terms after HSBC UK announced in last February that it was ending its sponsorship four years early.
Harrington said at the time that the organisation was actively searching for a replacement sponsor although the financial impact of the subsequent coronavirus pandemic across all sectors of business mean that is an even more difficult task now than it appeared just six weeks ago.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.