Athletics chiefs sorry after sold-out national champs move behind closed doors

Athletics chiefs have apologised to fans after the sold-out British Championships were rescheduled for behind closed doors.

The two-day event at Manchester Regional Arena was initially postponed from June to August, but even that is now considered too soon.

UK Athletics chief executive Jo Coates said: “We are sorry that we cannot host our brilliant athletics supporters this year but hope for a healthy return for fans at sports events next year.”

The governing body also confirmed that the Diamond League meet at Gateshead on August 16 is off – though it is hoped to reschedule it for Sept 12, again behind closed doors.


Given the frustration at the sport’s enforced summer shutdown there is some relief, however, that the postponements have not turned to cancellations.

Coates said: “We are delighted to be able to offer our athletes an opportunity to compete and still become British champions at the end of the summer in what has been the most unprecedented of circumstances for all sport.”

Barry Fudge, a central cog in the machine that turned Sir Mo Farah into a world beater, has left his role as British Athletics’ head of endurance.

Fudge had found himself under increasing pressure in recent years over his links with Farah’s disgraced former coach Alberto Salazar.

The decision comes just days after Coates promised the sport a ‘new start’.

In a statement issued by British Athletics, Fudge said: “It’s a difficult time for the performance team and the sport as a whole but it has been great to see British Athletics use the opportunity to push on with recruiting the new head coach and performance director ahead of Tokyo 2021.

“The time is right for me to move on and I am looking forward to watching our athletes progress and succeed at future championships.”

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