Unpicking Team Sky from British Cycling

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Which van, man?

I’ve written before about the inherent conflict of interest between British Cycling, the governing body and Team Sky, the ProTour cycling team. A lot of the Sky staff are actually British Cycling officials, meaning many critical people are part-timers caught between two roles and two paymasters. Here’s Britain’s Guardian on this matter:

Team Sky and the Olympic cycling squad are both headed by Dave Brailsford, who is performance director at British Cycling and principal of Team Sky. Shane Sutton, head coach of the track cycling team, has the same role with Team Sky.

The same goes for other staff members and I think it makes Team Sky unique because no other team has so many senior staff involved in other projects. The likes of Bjarne Riis, Marc Madiot or Jonathan Vaughters aren’t caught between a pro team and a sideline activity, whether it’s coaching a national squad, running a farm or other time-consuming roles. It’s a full time commitment.

The concern wasn’t just mine. The funding organising in Britain, UK Sport, was concerned about paying British Cycling staff with state funding, only to see them also working and paid by Sky / News Corporation. UK Sport hired consultants Deloitte to look into this last April.

Substantial Questions
At the time the report was expected to appear in the summer but six months later it’s not out. I can reveal that the initial enquiries have generated substantial questions over the relationship between British Cycling and Sky, not to mention a round of discussions between the governing body and UK Sport. Indeed ongoing discussions mean the public version of the report is unlikely to appear before 2011.

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