Alberto Salazar: UK Athletics to independently review handling of Nike Oregon Project relationship

Alberto Salazar and Mo Farah
Alberto Salazar (left) coached Mo Farah (second from right) along with American Galen Rupp (right) and Canadian Cam Levins (second from right)

UK Athletics has launched an independent review of its own handling of its relationship with under-fire coach Alberto Salazar and the now-disbanded Nike Oregon Project.

A panel appointed by UK Athletics in 2015 said there was "no reason" to remove British athletes from Salazar's programme, despite claims the American had broken anti-doping rules.

Salazar was banned for four years in October and Nike closed down his group.

Salazar is appealing against his ban.

"There has been much written about what the Oregon Project review looked into, found or concluded in 2015, and I therefore welcome this review as an opportunity to establish the full facts and for those facts to be published for all to see," said Sarah Rowell who chaired the 2015 review into the Nike Oregon Project and currently leads UK Athletics' Performance Oversight Committee.

The review, to be carried out by sports law barrister John Mehrzad, will also consider whether UK Athletics reacted appropriately to a leaked interim United States Anti-Doping Agency (Usada) report into Salazar in 2017 that said he "almost certainly" broke anti-doping rules.

Neil Black
Black's final act as UK Athletics performance director was to support Farah at November's Chicago marathon

Salazar's eventual ban by Usada triggered criticism of senior officials.

Performance director Neil Black, who described Salazar as "a genius" during their time working together, left his position shortly after the verdict was announced.

However coach Barry Fudge, who was the contact point between Salazar and UK Athletics, has continued in his role and will help prepare the Great Britain team for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Salazar was appointed as a consultant to UK Athletics' endurance programme in 2013 after he masterminded Sir Mo Farah's double-gold success at London 2012.

Farah, who has always denied any wrongdoing, ended his relationship with Salazar as he switched focus from the track to marathon running in 2017. He had stood by Salazar during Usada's four-year investigation.

Salazar has also been accused by former athletes under his care of damaging mental health with an 'obsession' over weight loss to improve performance.

Salazar has denied many of the claims against him relating to the culture at the Nike Oregon Project.

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