The chairman of UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) has told the BBC that the organisation is 'in jeopardy' after being informed by the government that it faces funding cuts of up to 25 per cent.
UKAD is responsible for conducting anti-doping tests on athletes across 40 sports in the United Kingdom, carrying out over 8,500 tests in 2014. It has a budget of £7m, according to the BBC, with most of that coming from state funding.
But in the latest round of government cuts, the organisation could see that budget fall by as much as 1.75m, something that UKAD chairman David Kenworthy says would put the integrity of UK sport at risk.
"We've been told to expect cuts of up to 25%," he said. "UKAD would be in jeopardy if we had large cuts like that because the purpose for which we're here, I'm not sure we could fulfil it properly."
Adding: "We've got to have the time and means to try to make up that income if we're to survive - if we don't, the integrity of UK sport is at risk.
"That would be desperate. With the amount of money invested in the integrity of sport over the years, to get it to where it is, that would be a huge blow."
There are currently three cyclists serving bans from UKAD for doping-related infringments, including former Team Sky rider Jonathan Tiernan-Locke.
The Devonian has been scathing in his criticism of the way his case was handled by UKAD, describing the hearing as a “mickey mouse court.”
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A government spokesperson said: "The government is clear that UKAD works tirelessly to ensure athletes and sport are clean, and continues to be recognised internationally for its work.
"Decisions on future funding are rightly for the spending review on 25 November, but we have also been clear that all parts of the public sector will be required to find savings through efficiencies and reforming the way things are done, so that we deliver more with less.
"It's part our plan to build a strong and stable economy for working people and ensure the sustainability of our priority public services."
Kenworthy says UKAD may be forced to ask the sports industry to "step up and pay" for its continued operation.
"Think about the amount of money that goes into sport in this country," he added. "Sixty-six medals are forecast for Rio - at a cost of £4.6m for each medal.
"That's almost our budget - for one medal. If one of those medals if proved to be false the damage done to our reputation is enormous. I'd hate to see the integrity of this country sacrificed.
"The money that goes through our turnstiles is huge, as is the broadcasting rights money. All that money is invested in sport, and the only one keeping us clean is UKAD."
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Stuart Clarke is a News Associates trained journalist who has worked for the likes of the British Olympic Associate, British Rowing and the England and Wales Cricket Board, and of course Cycling Weekly. His work at Cycling Weekly has focused upon professional racing, following the World Tour races and its characters.
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