British Cycling is on the brink of failing to push through its governance reforms, putting £43m of Sport England and UK Sport funding in serious doubt.
It is understood that it will fail to reach the required 75% majority vote in favour of the reforms at an emergency general meeting of British Cycling’s national council on Saturday.
The governing body was warned that future funding is dependent on it adopting reforms designed to improve governance standards across sport but it has failed to convince enough of the organisation’s 130,000 members.
A pressure group has been lobbying against the reforms believing they will leave too much power in the hands of too few. It is understood three of 10 regions voted to reject the measures.
Their elected councillors, who represent them at Saturday’s meeting, are mandated to vote in line with their wishes. The proportional representation system means 33 of 109 votes are expected to go against the reforms, meaning British Cycling will fall short of the 75% required.
One national council member said: “The reforms as they are will give the British Cycling board sole control to direct how regional funds are spent, taking the power away from a National Council.
“If you imagine British Cycling as running all horse sports, yet only show jumping has any say in how things are done and any rule changes, horse racing would be up in arms. That’s what you have in British Cycling. Track and road cycling run it and control regional councils and national council but cycle speedway, cyclo-cross, cross country mountain bike, downhill, 4x and BMX have no representation, so decisions are constantly made to the detriment of those disciplines with no say.”
Beleaguered British Cycling is under close scrutiny from UK Sport, which allocates lottery and exchequer funding at an elite level, and Sport England, which distributes money at grassroots level.
Another national council member said: “This pressure group has been lobbying against the British Cycling board for a long time. They think they are untouchable and that they have such a great depth of knowledge when actually they don’t. I’ll be interested to see how the vote on Saturday goes but from what I understand, the way the regions have voted should mean that the reforms will be rejected.”
“These changes to our governance are necessary, timely and in the best interests of our members whether they race, help out at their local club or just love riding their bike,” said British Cycling in a statement. “National councillors will attend the meeting knowing they will be accountable to all 136,000 of our members and responsible for ensuring British Cycling can continue to support all aspects of the sport from the Great Britain cycling team to volunteers putting on events in their spare time.”