Forensic examination of cycling body's records
British Cycling has been asked to open its financial records to forensic examination after allegations of impropriety over several years. In essence, the governing body has been accused of misusing public money intended for its World Class Performance programme (WCP).
There have been claims that bikes and equipment bought with public money were sold privately and that staff employed by the WCP were diverted into private projects, including doing repairs to an employee’s home.
However, an independent review panel which was originally brought in to look at the claims found them to be beyond its scope, so have delegated the investigation to UK Sport, which commissioned the original report, to decide whether to investigate further.
UK Sport allocated more than £60million in lottery and exchequer money to British Cycling in the eight-year period between the Beijing Olympics in 2008 and Rio 2016. However, serious questions have been raised to the independent review about where all that money went.
British Cycling is already considering how to act on information provided to the independent review, which was not covered by its remit. In addition, Ken Matheson, a former manager of women’s endurance and Paralympic teams at British Cycling, said he would like to see a further probe into financial misconduct.
Meanwhile, cycling is not the only sport to get the third degree from forensic accountants and investigators, as it was announced earlier this month that HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) is to visit Premier League football clubs to discuss tax avoidance through image rights in a bid to crack down on tax evasion and avoidance.
As with any business where numerous people get involved in projects, often involving vast amounts of money, the investigations will be wide-ranging and involve combing records such as emails and letters as well as financial documents, such as bank transfers and bank accounts.
Author: Roger Isaacs, 25 April 2017