Salazar review head Sarah Rowell to step down from UK Athletics board

Sarah Rowell was UKA interim chair from February to August 2019

Sarah Rowell, who led UK Athletics’ 2015 internal review into its handling of the Alberto Salazar scandal, is to step down from the governing body’s board a year earlier than planned.

The inquiry cleared Mo Farah to continue working with former coach Salazar, who was later banned from the sport in 2019 after being found guilty of doping violations.

“No pressure was applied to me by the new leadership to leave,” Rowell, who will depart at the end of this month, told BBC Sport.

The former Olympic marathon runner is the first senior departure since Joanna Coates became UKA’s new chief executive in February.

Rowell was interim chair from February to August last year, and accepted a year’s extension to her eight-year term as a board member.

She says she has now decided not to take up that extension.

“UKA has recruited strong performance knowledge and having been chair I found it it hard to step back to just being an ordinary board member. I had discussions earlier this year about not being involved any longer,” she added.

Salazar was appointed as a consultant to UKA’s endurance programme in 2013 after he masterminded Farah’s 5,000m and 10,000m gold medals at the London 2012 Olympics.

Salazar was banned from the sport for four years in October 2019 after being found guilty of doping violations following an investigation by the US Anti-Doping Agency (Usada) and a two-year court battle. He is appealing against the ban.

The investigation began after a BBC Panorama programme in 2015.

Salazar’s Nike Oregon Project (NOP), which was home to Farah between 2011 and 2017, has also been closed down.

There is no suggestion of any wrongdoing by Farah, who has never been accused of breaking anti-doping rules.

Last month, UK Anti-Doping criticised UKA for not releasing the outcome of Rowell’s review, despite “repeated” requests.

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