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Cycling “could be lost to an entire generation” if £43m of public funding is withdrawn, says British Cycling president Bob Howden.
The organisation’s 130,000 members will hold an extraordinary general meeting on Saturday to vote on new reforms.
The reforms are needed to meet a new code of conduct for sport governing bodies – and those which fail to adopt it could lose their funding.
“We must decide how we want our sport to look in the future,” added Howden.
“We can choose to be a sport which has a leading role in the public life of this country, or we can choose to turn the clock back 30 or more years.”
His statement comes after former British Cycling chief executive Peter King told the BBC that he expected the proposals to be rejected.
King says the board now faces a fight secure a 75% majority required to vote through the changes.
To date, the government has had mixed results persuading sports to adopt its Code for Sports Governance, designed to improve governance standards across sport.
In May, the Football Association’s council finally approved reforms, having been threatened with a £15m funding cut.
But earlier this month, the national governing body for table tennis became the first to reject the government’s standards and had its full £9m Sport England funding award suspended as a result.
What are the reforms?
Funding agency Sport England has allocated £17m to British Cycling to boost grassroots participation, while UK Sport is set to invest £26m for its Olympic and Paralympic teams’ preparations for Tokyo 2020.
British Cycling is one of the country’s best-funded and most successful sports governing bodies and has been the driving force behind the country’s unprecedented success in recent Olympic and Paralympic Games – Great Britain won a combined total of 33 medals across the Rio 2016 Olympics and Paralympics.
But their continued funding now hinges on complying with sports minister Tracey Crouch’s governance code.
From November, boards of governing bodies must be more independent and diverse, and be “the ultimate decision-making body and exercise all of the powers of the organisation”.
British Cycling executives – including chairman Jonathan Browning and president Howden – have been attending a series of regional meetings in a bid to convince members to support a package of reforms designed to meet the new standards.
- a reduction in the number of elected regional board directors from six to four
- permanent seats on the board for elected representatives from Scotland and Wales
- an increase in the number of openly recruited independent board members from three to four and an independent chair
- a limit for directors of three three-year terms, with six of the eight elected members on the current board forced to stand down
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