The UK Anti-Doping Agency has delivered an extraordinary rebuke to UK Athletics for its repeated refusal to hand over a 2015 internal report into Alberto Salazar’s relationship with Mo Farah, which is said to contain sensitive medical data.
Ukad is understood to be angry and disappointed to have received only an edited PowerPoint summary of the report by UKA’s performance oversight committee, which was led by three former athletes and ultimately concluded there were “no concerns” about Farah continuing with Salazar.
In a highly unusual and pointed statement, Ukad’s chief executive, Nicole Sapstead, said: “We remind UKA that they are bound by the National Anti-Doping Policy. We call again on UKA to hand over this review in full, including the associated supporting reports and documents.
She added: “We have repeatedly requested that UK Athletics share this POC review with us in its entirety as there could be information included that is of interest to us.”
However, UK Athletics insists that the five-year delay has been caused by the need to get consents from certain parties before handing over the report. “Any implication by anyone that UKA is being obstructive in this matter or in any way failing in its duties, is wholly wrong and inaccurate,” a spokesperson said.
UKA also insisted that its lawyers had received correspondence on Friday afternoon from Ukad’s in-house legal team “setting out a framework and reassurances of confidentiality to enable UKA to share documents containing sensitive information within the 2015 POC review, which UKA have been advised needs specific consents. This was in response to a letter dated 3 March 2020 from UKA lawyers to Ukad. UKA and Ukad have been addressing this cooperatively, to enable access to relevant documents in compliance with legal duties.”
On Friday a separate independent report into UKA’s relationship with Salazar between 2011 and 2017 by the sports lawyer John Merhzad revealed that UKA had not kept minutes of vital meetings in which Farah and Salazar’s relationship was discussed, and also expressed unease that UK Athletics’ 2015 review was in-house and may have been seem to lack independence. But he found it had come to a reasonable conclusion.
Surprisingly, Mehzad does not appear to have consulted Ukad before publishing his findings. The Observer has also discovered that redacted sections of Merhzad’s report can be accessed by copying and pasting them into a Word document.
In October Salazar, who guided Farah to four Olympic and five world titles between 2011 and 2017, was banned for four years for doping. Salazar has said he will appeal against the ban. Farah has maintained his innocence and no Salazar athlete has tested positive.
Meanwhile, a growing number of sporting bodies, including USA Swimming and USA Track and Field, are now calling for the Tokyo Olympics to be postponed. The Brazilian, Norwegian and Slovenian Olympic Committees have also called for the Games to be pushed back in the last 24 hours.