Long-serving British Athletics chief Niels de Vos set to resign

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British Athletics was shaken on Thursday night by claims that long-serving chief executive Niels de Vos is about to resign.

De Vos was unavailable for comment, as were senior members of the UKA athletics communications department, but three senior sources have told Sportsmail that De Vos is walking away after what has been a difficult period for the organisation.

De Vos has been chief executive since 2007 and at one stage was credited with modernising UKA and building the long-term partnership with sportswear giants Nike.

But with attendances down at major British athletics events, sponsorship revenue proving difficult to generate and the athletics World Cup in London this year considered something of a disaster – it was a project masterminded by De Vos that was held the same weekend as the Wimbledon finals and the FIFA World Cup final – the national governing body is widely thought to be underperforming commercially. 

The latest UKA accounts are due next month, with De Vos’s salary in the region of £300,000 a year.

At the Team GB ball on Thursday night senior officials were aware of a significant development concerning De Vos but as yet no announcement has been made publicly by UKA. 

It is understood 51-year-old De Vos, who joined UKA from Sale Sharks, is planning to start his own sports consultancy business.

Where it could leave the organisation remains to be seen. 

But the departure of De Vos might make life more difficult for new UKA chairman Richard Bowker given his apparent desire to merge UKA with England Athletics. 

So far the idea is thought to have been met with resistance.

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