As the representative body for British athletes, the BAC often plays a role in the process which sees athletes selected – or not selected – for major events which include the Olympic Games, Paralympic Games, Commonwealth Games and World Championships across sports.

Due to the nature of our role within the system, the work that we undertake relating to processes around selection can be complex, variable, and will always be confidential. Below, we have outlined in as much detail as possible the role that we play.

Our responsibility to our members

The BAC represents circa 1,400 elite athletes, across summer and winter, Olympic and Paralympic sports. Any one of our members is entitled to request our support once a selection decision is made. If and when this support is activated, we offer independent and confidential expertise and guidance.

It is important to note that BAC’s main priority in any cases relating to selection is that the selection policy is followed accurately, and the integrity of the process is upheld, rather than simply fighting to overturn a decision.

Our tips for athletes who may be approaching a major event are below, and FAQs for athletes are available here.


Our relationship with National Governing Bodies

We work closely with National Governing Bodies (NGBs) across the system, and in doing so we can ensure that not only are athletes’ interests protected, but that the NGB is best placed to support its athletes through what can be an intensely emotional time.

We can work with the NGB on its policy, we can liaise with them prior to selection, and we are often called upon to act as an ‘Independent Observer’ in selection meetings.

The role of an Independent Observer

During selection meetings, NGBs may choose to have an Independent Observer present.

Crucially, the Independent Observer has no say on the outcomes of selection decisions – no ‘vote’ for a particular athlete’s inclusion in a squad – and is there solely to support the NGB to ensure procedural integrity and to provide confidence to athletes about the transparency, fairness, and objectivity of the process.

A selection process must be:

In order to uphold these principles, the role of the BAC when acting as an Independent Observer is to:

Fulfilling this role is crucial to the work of the BAC, therefore we take every opportunity to ensure that our staff members’ skill and knowledge in this area is at the highest possible standard. Recently, staff members undertook training with renowned QC, Dan Saoul.




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