British Cycling: New chairman Frank Slevin queries Bob Howden role as president

Cycling


We should draw a line between past and future – British Cycling chair

New independent chairman Frank Slevin is “surprised” president Bob Howden retains a role with British Cycling.

Howden stepped down as chairman in February 2017 during a turbulent period for the sport, but remained president.

Howden’s replacement Jonathan Browning left in November after only nine months in the post, with Slevin named as his successor on Wednesday.

“We should be drawing a bright line between the past and the future,” Slevin said.

The governing body has been investigated over bullying and discrimination claims, while a separate inquiry was held into doping allegations.

In an interview with BBC Sport, House of Fraser executive chairman Slevin said of Howden remaining in a position of authority: “It’s safe to say I am surprised. One of the reviews determined that the previous conduct of the board had been inept, inexcusable, so I think responsibility needs to be taken for that.

“I don’t know Bob to any great extent personally, I’ve met him once. He is the president, he has been elected for a three-year term, I believe he has had a long career in cycling, been a long contributor to cycling but again I do believe in a bright line and I think we ought to be reviewing that situation.”

Asked about the controversies that had plagued cycling in recent times, Slevin added: “What it’s done is given us an opportunity to look very carefully at what we’re doing around the sport and to learn from it.

“I’m not very good at dwelling on the past but I am quite good at learning from the past and I think we need to take what we’ve learned and change things going forward.”

On the subject of Britain’s most successful cyclist, four-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome, who is facing questions after returning an “adverse” drugs test at the Vuelta a Espana in September, Slevin said: “It is an ongoing case so I think we must wait and see what the conclusion is.

“At a personal level I hope that he finds credible reasons for the adverse finding.”

“In the months ahead he’s got the opportunity to explain why that finding took place,” British Cycling chief executive Julie Harrington added.

When asked by BBC sports editor Dan Roan whether the ongoing case could impact on Froome’s future selection to represent Britain, she explained: “Chris pulls on a GB jersey at the road world championships which won’t be until the autumn. We do have the luxury of time for this situation to resolve itself, which should mean fortunately we don’t have that decision to make.”

However she later clarified to reporters that Froome would be available for selection: “Under the rules of racing, he is available and it’s innocent until proven guilty.”

Froome case a ‘blow’ for British Cycling – Harrington

Sport England had threatened to withdraw funding last year unless British Cycling agreed to overhaul its structure.

New governance reforms were approved at an extraordinary general meeting in July.

The reforms included an increase in the number of openly recruited independent board members from three to four, and an independent chair – the role now taken by Slevin.

In addition, a limit of three three-year terms for directors was introduced, with six of the eight elected members on the current board being forced to stand down last year.



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