SEPTEMBER 18 - Sebastian Coe (pictured) has ruled out the possibility of becoming the chairman of UK Athletics after he decided to accept an invitation to become the first head of FIFA’s ethics commission and because he does not want to be seen neglecting his duties of organising the 2012 Olympics in London.
The decision will be a blow to many within the sport who saw the 1980 and 1984 Olympic 1500 metres champion as the ideal figure head to help stabilise the sport following the shock decision last month of Dave Moorcroft to resign as chief executive.
The decision to create the new post was taken following Moorcroft’s resignation and was widely seen as being designed specifically for Coe. Coe’s responsibilities as chairman of the London 2012 Olympics ruled him out of the chief executive’s role but, given that he was already a non-executive director of UKA, senior sports insiders believed he might be tempted to take on another part-time chairmanship, which is expected to carry a six-figure salary.
But the invitation from Sepp Blatter to be in charge of FIFA’s new watchdog proved to be an opportunity that Coe could not resist. The new role would have severely restricted the amount of time Coe would have had to devote to UK Athletics and he has told friends that he will not allow his name to be put forward for the new post.
Coe is also conscious that he is already facing criticism that by taking on the FIFA role the amount of time he will be able to spend on organising preparations for London 2012 may be restricted, something he rejects. “I will take up this new role alongside my commitment to London 2012 - I will continue to spend a significant amount of time working to ensure we stage the best-ever games,” he said.
Coe’s decision not to pursue the position at UK Athletics leaves as favourite his old rival Steve Cram, the former world 1500m and mile record holder who is currently chairman of the English Institute of Sport and a BBC TV commentator.