Neil Black to step down after seven years as UK Athletics performance director

By PA Sport Staff

UK Athletics is searching for a new performance director following Neil Black’s decision to stand down after seven years in the role.

Black had said he would review his position in the wake of the four-year ban handed to coach Alberto Salazar by the United States Anti-Doping Agency.

Black will leave his post at the end of the month and will still oversee Sir Mo Farah’s involvement in the Chicago Marathon as planned this weekend.

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Alberto Salazar has been banned for four years by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (Martin Rickett/PA.
Alberto Salazar has been banned for four years by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (Martin Rickett/PA.

A statement from UK Athletics read: “UK Athletics have announced that Neil Black will leave his role as performance director at the end of October.

“Neil will commence a detailed handover with performance staff until his departure and will fulfil his role supporting Mo Farah at this weekend’s Chicago marathon.”

In 2015, when USADA began investigating potential doping violations against Salazar, the American was coaching Farah.

UK Athletics reviewed Salazar’s link with Farah at the time and concluded there was “no reason to be concerned”.

Black spoke about the matter on Monday after returning from the World Championships in Doha where Great Britain won just five medals, their lowest tally since 2005.

He said: “I’ll play back the decisions I made and once I’ve had a chance to really look through that I’ll have a view.”

File photo dated 04-08-2012 of Great Britain’s Mo Farah (right) celebrates winning the Men’s 10,000m final with Silver Medalist USA’s Galen Rupp (left) and coach Alberto Salazar.
File photo dated 04-08-2012 of Great Britain’s Mo Farah (right) celebrates winning the Men’s 10,000m final with Silver Medalist USA’s Galen Rupp (left) and coach Alberto Salazar.

Farah, who trained under Salazar at the Nike Oregon Project from 2011 to 2017, said after the ban was announced that he had “no tolerance for anyone who breaks the rules or crosses a line”. There has never been any accusation of wrongdoing made against the four-time Olympic champion.

Black, who has also described Salazar as a genius in the past, was appointed performance director following the resignation of Charles Van Commenee after missing a self-imposed medal target at London 2012.

He previously worked with the governing body as a physiotherapist and as head of sport medicine and science. His involvement dates back to 1992.

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