UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) could be forced to close its doors due to Government funding cuts in the country, according to chairman David Kenworthy, who warned the organisation was “in jeopardy”.
Speaking to the BBC, Kenworthy said UKAD, formed in 2009, would be unable to cope if their budget was slashed by a quarter, which could bring about an end to testing in Britain.
The news comes despite a wave of recent doping scandals in several sports across the world, with Britain’s Mo Farah, the reigning world and Olympic champion over 5,000 and 10,000 metres, and marathon world record holder Paula Radcliffe both having to deny claims of doping over the past year.
According to a Government spokesperson, no decision on future funding will be revealed until a spending review is conducted on November 25.
“We’ve been told to expect cuts of up to 25 per cent,” Kenworthy said.
“UKAD would be in jeopardy if we had large cuts like that because the purpose for which we’re here, I’m not sure we could fulfil it properly.
“We’ve got to have the time and means to try to make up that income if we’re to survive, if we don’t the integrity of UK sport is at risk.
“That would be desperate.
“With the amount of money invested in the integrity of sport over the years, to get it to where it is, that would be a huge blow to UK plc.
“Something’s got to give, so the testing would certainly go.”
UKAD, which has a budget of £7 million ($10.7 million/€9.7 million) carried out around 8,000 tests, spanning 40 sports, last year and they have recently become involved in helping the National Crime Agency in attempting to stem the flow of illegal drugs entering the country which could be used to aid doping.
Kenworthy says they would struggle to maintain their work should the cuts come into effect, admitting tests are “expensive” and that any reduce in funding would be “an appalling waste of the experience we have built up”.
The former chief constable of the North Yorkshire Police revealed a urine test costs £371 ($568/€515), with an athlete biological passport costing £439 ($672/4610) per test.
Following his damning and bleak warning, Kenworthy has called on the sporting fraternity in Britain to help prolong the efforts of the organisation, warning “sport might have to step up and pay for some of the work that we do”.
“The country can’t live beyond its means,” he added.
“We’ve got to bridge the gap.
“Sixty-six medals are forecast for Rio – at a cost of £4.6m ($7 million/€6.4 million) for each medal.
“That’s almost our budget for one medal – if one of those medals proved to be false the damage done to our reputation is enormous.
“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.”
UKAD recently suspended darts player Richie Burnett for 18 months for cocaine use and handed out their first lifetime ban in August to Philip Tinkin, who was found to have been supplying anabolic steroids to daughter and Welsh Amateur Boxing Association elite level boxer Sophie.
- By Liam Morgan
- This article was republished with permission from the original publisher Inside the Games www.insidethegames.biz