13th July 2021


Today UK Athletics (UKA) has launched a long-term Operational Plan following a year of planning and consultation with the sport.

The plan follows on from the launch of ‘Athletics Unified’ last November, a shared vision of the sport jointly created alongside the Home Country Athletics Federations (HCAFs) Athletics Northern Ireland, England Athletics, Scottish Athletics and Welsh Athletics.

The UKA Operational Plan 2021-2032 launched today is UKA’s plan to support the delivery of Athletics Unified goals. A new identity, Age of the Athlete, is also unveiled to signal the start of a new era.

Hear CEO Joanna Coates and the UKA Executive Team present the headlines from the Operational Plan here.

Widespread consultation took place with stakeholders including athletes, coaches, officials, Sport England and UK Sport, partners and competition providers. The themes which emerged from this national consultation exercise are reflected in the plan, based around three key pillars:

1. Athlete First
Athletes will be at the heart of everything with a discipline-specific approach to each part of the sport, using data and insight working to achieve Athletics Unified Goal 1 by 2032. A new Performance and Innovation Centre will be central to the Performance Strategy, whilst a network of connected regional hubs in collaboration with the HCAFs will ensure successful athlete and coach pairings can stay together.

2. Superstructure
Coaching, competition and officiating will be aligned under the discipline-specific approach. There will be a commitment to ethical decision-making and to transforming the culture of the sport. Clear standards will be set so that everyone knows what they are and what is expected of them by the sport, ensuring compliance throughout the entirety of the system.

3. Commercial Edge
New, long-term commercial partnerships supported by a strong digital strategy that creates meaningful engagement through the power of the data held for the sport by UKA. There will be a new Commercial Strategy for non-Olympic and non-Paralympic sports as well as identifying additional funding to support core activities such as safeguarding and coaching. A strategy created with UK city partners for delivering high quality, commercially successful events attracting new audiences to our sport and maximising ticket revenue.

Strong organisational health will underpin the core pillars, including excellence in leadership and governance, great people, financial stability and certainty, an equality, diversity and inclusion (ED&I) mindset and a commitment to decision-making based on analysis of data

UKA Chief Executive Joanna Coates said:

“I am delighted to share the UKA Operational Plan with the sport today. I also want to thank everyone in the athletics community who helped us develop this plan by taking part in focus groups, webinars and other stakeholder events.”

“Today we set out an ambitious future for athletics in the UK and have demonstrated how we will support the delivery of Athletics Unified. We have set ourselves bold challenges; change may not always be easy but it is possible and often the biggest rewards come from meeting such challenges together.”