US track body lists expenses to refute claims by Symmonds

Nick Symmonds celebrates after winning the 800m in 1:44.53 in the 2015 USA Championships at Hayward Field.
Nick Symmonds celebrates after winning the 800m in 1:44.53 in the 2015 USA Championships at Hayward Field. PHOTO: USA TODAY SPORTS

NEW YORK • USA Track & Field has released a detailed breakdown of how it spends its money, in response to an allegation made by runner Nick Symmonds that the governing body spends only a tiny proportion of its income on athlete support.

Symmonds, who won the 800 metres at the US trials, was excluded from the US team for this month's World Championships in Beijing after refusing to agree to conditions required of athletes and said on Tuesday that he was considering legal action. He added that he is meeting a lawyer to "discuss my options", after taking exception to

USTAF rules governing the wearing of team sponsor Nike's apparel.

On Monday, Symmonds cited an analysis by an economist that showed that 8 per cent of expected USATF gross revenue this year would be distributed to athletes.

The athletics body said it spends about half its budget on athlete support and released a detailed breakdown.

" USATF in 2015 anticipates that we will spend roughly 50 per cent of our US$30 million (S$42.1 million) budget, or more than US$15 million, on a combination of cash paid directly to athletes, USATF payment of athlete costs and high performance programmes that support elite athletes," the body said in a statement.

"All revenues and expenditures are accounted for and reported."

Symmonds, who finished second at the 2013 World Championships and fifth at the 2012 Olympics, baulked at signing USATF's statement of conditions that requires athletes to wear Nike to official functions, claiming the terms are too vague and restrictive.

The 31-year-old, who is sponsored by rival company Brooks, said he hopes his legal consultation will shed light on what recourse, if any, he has against USATF.

"I currently do not know what my options are," he said on Tuesday. "I am hoping that my meeting with the lawyer can shed some light on where I can go from here."

He also dismissed the financial breakdown. "Statement says 2015 budget is US$30 million. Is USATF's budget somehow shrinking after new US$500million dollar deal with @Nike?" he tweeted.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 13, 2015, with the headline 'US track body lists expenses to refute claims by Symmonds'. Print Edition | Subscribe