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New England Athletics Takes Shape

The Foster Project Board, tasked with driving forward the reform of athletics in the UK, today announced its plans for launching England Athletics. It was also confirmed that Peter Radcliffe has been appointed Chair of the interim body that will become England Athletics.

Peter Radcliffe, former HR Director of Interbrew UK and Ireland, Chair of Bedford and County AC and father of Paula Radcliffe, marathon world record holder, will chair the interim body.  From January 2005 Peter will take up his position and work closely with Sir Andrew Foster and Jack Buckner (Chair and Project Director respectively), George Bunner (Chair of the AAA of England) and David Moorcroft (Chief Executive UK Athletics). 

They will be appointing a Chief Executive of England Athletics to join the team in early 2005 and further developing the delivery strategy, structure and financial model for the new body. Appointments will take place during 2005 and it is anticipated that England Athletics will be fully operational in April 2006 after the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne. 

As well as developing the new England Athletics, the interim body will work with UK Athletics to oversee the transfer of certain functions from UKA to the new organisation as identified in the Foster Report. It was also agreed a competition group would meet covering the disciplines, the territories and other groups as appropriate.

These proposals have been developed and agreed by a working group that included representatives from AAA of England, South of England AA, Midland Counties AA and the North of England AA. The working group has endorsed and extended the concept of devolving delivery responsibility and resources to nine English regions. A regional forum, comprising volunteers will be established to advise on the development and direction of their region. The volunteer who chairs each forum will also sit on a new English Forum to ensure coordination and a voice within England. 

Sir Andrew Foster said: Real progress is now being made in our reform of athletics, with the key recommendation of a new England Athletics well underway. We are also delighted that Peter has agreed to become the Chair of the interim body working to create the new structure. Peter has a mixture of both corporate and sport experience that will play a key role in developing a body fit to deliver and boost participation and success in athletics across England.

Jack Buckner commented: We are now entering a crucial stage in implementing the key recommendations from the Foster Report.  I am very much committed to working closely with Peter and the Project Board to shape the new England Athletics over the next year.

George Bunner added: I am very pleased by the opportunity to create a new England.  Throughout the period of transition the AAA of England will be fully operative in all its activities leading up to a successful Commonwealth Games. It will be involved and cooperate fully in the implementation of the new England Athletics and the transferring of roles at the appropriate time.

David Moorcroft said ' England Athletics will be a vital organisation for delivering a significant part of the UK Strategy which aims to widen the base of participation and enable athletes to fulfil their ambitions and potential. I welcome Peter's appointment and look forward to working with him.'

Peter Radcliffe said:  I am very much looking forward to leading the creation of the new body and ensuring that we have the best structure and team in place when England Athletics is fully operational in April 2006. Im pleased to be able to bring my experiences from both business and club athletics into this challenging and exciting role.

Peter Radcliffe, father of Paula, will head up the body charged with restructuring athletics in England.

Radcliffe will chair England Athletics 2005, an interim organisation which will establish a new governing body for the sport in 2006.

England Athletics will replace the Amateur Athletic Association of England, formerly the AAA.

Sport England, which distributes lottery funding, has demanded the sport make radical changes to its structure.

A review by Sir Andrew Foster expressed fears that political infighting was holding the sport back.

Foster backed the appointment of Radcliffe to the post.

"Peter has a mixture of both corporate and sport experience that will play a key role in developing a body fit to deliver and boost participation and success in athletics across England," he said.

Radcliffe's most recent role was human resources director for Interbrew UK, but he is also the chairman of his daughter's club Bedford and County Athletic Club.

Jack Bucknor, project director for the implementation of Foster's recommendations, said Radcliffe's family ties had little to do with his appointment.

"Having somebody who is a club chair and who is a former HR director is critical," he said.

"There is a third element which, to me, is the least important - the fact that his daughter runs a bit."

Under the planned new structure, England Athletics will take responsibility for regional development, while UK Athletics will oversee elite performance.