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UK Athletics launches independent review of its handling of the Nike Oregon Project

By Tom Walker    29 Nov 2019
The highest-profile British athlete to train at the NOP was Mo Farah / Shutterstock

UK Athletics has launched an independent review of its handling of the relationship it had with the high-profile Nike Oregon Project (NOP) and its coach Alberto Salazar.

NOP was created by the sportswear company Nike in 2001 to promote American long-distance running. Focused on elite coaching, the NOP attracted a group of top runners from both the US and internationally.

A number of British runners also trained at NOP under Salazar – including four-time Olympic champion Mo Farah.

Salazar was banned for four years in October 2019 by the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) for "multiple anti-doping rule violations".

Questions over Salazar's doping record were first, however, raised prior to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in 2015 – but UK Athletics at the time decided that there was “no reason” to be concerned about any British athlete or coaches involved with the NOP. There has never been any suggestion, that any of the British athletes who trained at the NOP had done anything wrong.

UK Athletics has now, however, launched a major review led by sports barrister John Mehrzad. The review will look to ascertain whether mistakes were made in UK Athletics' handling of the decision to clear British athletes to continue training at the NOP.

"We have commissioned a review into the processes under which the issues concerning the NOP were investigated in 2015 and 2017 – and the subsequent related decisions made by the UKA Board at those respective times," UK Athletics said in a statement.

"The Independent Review will also set out any recommendations to assist UKA ensure its future governance and assurance framework is robust."

The findings and recommendations from the review are expected to be published "in or around Spring 2020".

UK Athletics  Nike 
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