National governing body releases objectives that will guide review into the Oregon Project and Alberto Salazar and their relationship with Mo Farah and the UKA endurance programme
UK Athletics (UKA) has released further details about what the national governing body’s chair Ed Warner describes as a “rigorous review” into the high-performance system around Mo Farah.
Among the claims are that Salazar was involved in doping US 10,000m record-holder Galen Rupp in 2002 when Rupp was 16 years old.
Both Salazar and Rupp have denied any wrongdoing, while there is no suggestion that Farah has violated any rules.
As well as being head coach of the Nike Oregon Project in Portland, Oregon, Salazar has worked as a consultant to UKA’s endurance programme since 2013.
UKA had already released a statement in response to the Panorama programme, which aired details of the BBC and ProPublica investigation. That statement announced that the governing body would be undertaking a “focused review” of the performance-management system surrounding Farah.
On Friday UKA confirmed that the performance oversight group, comprising Jason Gardener, Dr Sarah Rowell and Anne Wafula-Strike, has begun work on the review, with an aim of concluding their report no later than the first week of August.
UKA detailed the review objectives as:
1. To establish whether our organisation’s confidence in the Oregon Project is well founded in regard to Mo Farah’s training programme.
2. To establish whether our organisation’s confidence in the Oregon Project is well founded in regard to UKA’s overall Endurance Programme.
3. To consider any lessons learned as a result of this specific review for UKA’s overall Performance Programme.
The guidelines for the review continued to read, in part: “The Committee’s terms of reference are specific to the Oregon Project and Alberto Salazar and their relationship with Mo Farah and the UKA endurance programme.
“In accordance with the WADA Code and national anti-doping rules, and having taken advice from UK Anti-Doping, the Committee is not to investigate any conduct which might contravene any anti-doping rules. If any suspicion of a doping violation arises at any time, the Committee should immediately notify the relevant authority.”
It added: “The Committee should seek detailed explanations as to the role of Alberto Salazar as a consultant to UKA.
“The Committee should seek detailed explanations as to the input provided to UKA by the Oregon Project.”
Warner commented: “This review is a serious response to the questions raised in recent days. It demonstrates to all athletics fans the importance we place on ensuring that the high performance system around Mo Farah by British Athletics is robust and of the utmost integrity.
“We are taking nothing for granted however, and our independent directors are charged with conducting a rigorous review of that system in a timely manner.”
Farah was last week quoted by the BBC as saying: “I have not taken any banned substances and Alberto has never suggested that I take a banned substance.
“From my experience, Alberto and the Oregon Project have always strictly followed WADA rules and if there is ever a question seek guidance from USADA to ensure they are correctly interpreting WADA’s rules.”
Double Olympic, world and European track champion Farah had been due to race at the Sainsbury’s Birmingham Grand Prix on Sunday but withdrew saying he felt “emotionally and physically drained”.
An update was posted to his Facebook page on Thursday which read: “I mentioned at the weekend that the past week has been tough for me, but having spent a few days with my family and having time to reflect, I am feeling much more upbeat. However, I do realise that at the weekend I disappointed a lot of people by pulling out of the race and I wanted to apologise again to you all and say a massive thanks for your on-going support. Hope to see you soon!!”
Rupp, who won Olympic 10,000m silver behind Farah at London 2012, had been due to race at the Portland Track Festival this weekend but is reported to have withdrawn.
Further details on the review can be found here.