Mo Farah: Ex-UK Athletics chairman Ed Warner says he advised athlete to leave Alberto Salazar in 2015
Former UK Athletics chairman Ed Warner claims that he strove to persuade Mo Farah to depart his today disgraced ex-coach Alberto Salazar in 2015.
Salazar was banned after being found guilty of doping violations following an investigation by the US Anti-Doping Agency and a two-year court struggle.
The American conducted the Nike Oregon Project, that had been home to Olympic winner Farah between 2011 and 2017 but has been closed down in the wake of Salazar’s ban.
Warner says he visited Farah the night following the 2015 World Championships at Beijing – where the Briton won 5,000m and 10,000m gold to become the first person to pull off a distance’triple-double’ – to ask if he”needed to take the risk” of remaining Salazar.
In an exclusive interview with Sport,” Warner, who left UK Athletics (UKA) two and a half years back after 11 years at the helm, stated:”I’d have adored Mo to walk away.
“He was adamant he was not going to modify his trainer.”
Farah, 36, hasn’t failed a drugs test and isn’t convicted of any wrongdoing.
The analysis into Salazar started after a Panorama programme at 2015.
Farah said in Chicago a year ago which Salazar promised him the allegations in the programme were”not accurate”. In January, he stated he’d have been”the first out one” had he known his former coach confronted a ban for doping violations.
New allegations regarding the 61-year-old will likely probably be made in a Panorama on Monday, which might lead to additional scrutiny of UKA and Farah.
Discussing this week, Warner mirrored about the”very difficult situation” that he and the remainder of the UKA board confronted when the very first Panorama on Salazar aired.
In light of the claims against the American coach, former athlete and also board member Dr Sarah Rowell led an inner UKA review into the Nike Oregon Project.
That concluded there was”no concern” about allowing Farah continue to be trained by Salazar.
Warner has now accepted that”maybe” the board would have had an independent chair but he felt the perfect decision was made in the conditions.
“Our choices needed to be constructed around protecting our athlete – yes, even a wonderful decoration potential but finally a human being – and presumption of innocence for Salazar too. Therefore it turned out to be a tight rope that is ethical that people walked.
“We came out with possibly the least worst outcome. But the very ideal outcome would have been Mo saying:’Do you understand what? I won’t take the risk.’
“I tried to convince him to alter coach. I met with him after the Beijing World Championships ended.
“I spoke through the board’s thinking in the time round the whole Oregon Project and his position inside, and I had one last go at saying to him:’Are you really sure you need to take that risk?’
“He was adamant he wanted to remain with Salazar, therefore everything else fell into place behind ”
Wondering if UKA had the capability in the time to sever ties with Salazar and cease Farah working together with him, Warner said:”Yes, absolutely you might have the ability to do that.
“If Mo Farah is completely adamant he isn’t going to modify coach then he would be outside of the UK Sport, UK Athletics platform with no chance for us to provide protections for him medically.
“So you wind up making a decision regarding whether you want your top athlete to be cast to the winds on the other side of the Atlantic or whether you would like to maintain a strong level of oversight – and that is the side of the lineup we came forth.
“I think there is a responsibility of care there to the athlete to make sure all protections are set in place as much as is possible”
The agents of farah didn’t respond to a request for comment.