British Olympic Association Chair Sebastian Coe indicated Thursday that the BOA "will go back to basics under his chairmanship, having cut staffing levels by more than half" and ditched many of the areas of the organization from the previous regime, according to Owen Gibson of the London GUARDIAN. The London 2012 chairman said his priority had been to put the organization on a more stable financial footing so that it no longer had to live "hand to mouth." Coe said that the organization, which admitted in its latest results that it had taken out a £5M ($7M) overdraft and would require its share of any surplus from the London organizing committee to break even, "would be more collaborative." It would concentrate on a slimmed down role that was "athlete-centric" and focused on supporting British teams at Games-time. Expansive plans for a museum on the Olympic Park "have been scrapped," and licensing and merchandising has been outsourced to global sports marketing giant IMG. The BOA "has slimmed down its staff from around 95 people at the time of the London Olympics to around 45." Coe said that its revenue target of £42M ($64M) over the next four years was not predicated on receiving the £5.2M ($8M) that the BOA could be due if LOCOG "makes a profit" (GUARDIAN, 4/25).
LIFETIME BANS DEFEAT: In London, Ashling O'Connor reported the BOA has "abandoned its push to impose a lifetime ban for drugs cheats as legally unworkable." Coe said "the train had left the station" on the issue as the World Anti-Doping Agency moved toward "doubling the current two-year ban for serious first-time offences." Coe: "I don’t think you will ever get as a first response a lifetime ban. The landscape legally is too complicated." His comments "end any speculation that Britain might continue to be out of step with the rest of the world despite the overwhelming support of British athletes" (LONDON TIMES, 4/25).
WOODWARD'S ROLE AXED: In London, Simon Hart wrote Coe has drawn a line under Clive Woodward's controversial tenure as BOA director of elite performance "by insisting that the BOA will no longer involve itself with coaching athletes or mentoring coaches." One of Coe's first acts was to initiate a review of the BOA's activities and, after several months of consultation, he confirmed on Thursday that the organization was no longer seeking a role on the performance side of Olympic sport and would now be part of a "collaborative landscape" (TELEGRAPH, 4/25).