By Nick Butler

There has been widespread criticism after the extent of Niels de Vos's salary was revealed ©Getty ImagesJanuary 6 - At a time when coaches across Britain are receiving cuts in funding, UK Athletics has been strongly criticised after it was revealed that chief executive Niels de Vos received a 55 per cent pay increase during 2012.

De Vos, who has been in the role since 2007, received a £90,000 ($148,000/€108,000) bonus in his salary for the 2012-2013 tax year to take his total salary to £254,994 ($418,000/€307,000) in comparison with £164,326 ($269,000/€198,000) the previous year. 

This came in the same year a number of coaches were made redundant as UK Athletics moved to centralise its coaching support at the National Performance Institute at Loughborough, while funds have also declined for volunteer coaches.

This has provoked a barrage of criticism from current and former athletes and, in particular, from British javelin record holder Goldie Sayers, who after several injury ravaged years was only returned to Natinal Lottery funding after lodging an appeal in 2013. 

Writing on Twitter, Sayers queried how de Vos could receive "a 55% [93k] pay rise for 2012-13 whilst we are losing voluntary coaches every year due to lack of funds?"

Goldie Sayers criticised Niels de Vos via social media ©TwitterGoldie Sayers criticised Niels de Vos via social media ©Twitter

Former heptathlete Kelly Sotherton, an Olympic bronze medallist at Athens 2004 who now coaches on a voluntary basis, responded to Sayers' tweet by describing the news as a "joke".

The 2011 European Indoor 3,000 metres champion Helen Clitheroe also replied, by tweeting "unreal", while hammer thrower Sarah Holt described the news as "unbelievable".

Several UK Athletics employed figures lost their jobs at the end of 2012, including sprint coaches Tony Lester and Michael Afilaka and endurance coach George Gandy, coach of 1500m runner Lisa Dobriskey when she won a silver medal at the 2009 World Championships.

Toni Minichiello, coach of the London 2012 Olympic champion Jessica Ennis-Hill, was initially released after declining to make the move from Sheffield to Loughborough, although he has now rejoined the set-up in a reduced role.

Kelly Sotherton has been another to criticise Niels de Vos' salary on Twitter ©Bob Thomas Sports Photography/Getty ImagesKelly Sotherton has been another to criticise Niels de Vos' salary on Twitter ©Bob Thomas Sports Photography/Getty Images

UK Athletics are yet to offer an official response to the accusations.

However, insidethegames understands, while the quoted salary figures are accurate, they are due to a "one off milestone bonus" promised after five years of service in de Vos' original contract, and no such bonus will be awarded for next year.

In his six years of service, de Vos has presided over a general period of some success on and off the track for UK Athletics - culminating in three gold medal winners in Mo Farah and Greg Rutherford, as well as Ennis, at London 2012 - although there has been criticism of performances at lower levels. 

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