Andrew Butchart could lose his Olympics spot for initially claiming to have faked a Covid-19 test after UK Athletics head coach Christian Malcolm admitted all options were on the table.
The 5,000 metres runner – who was included in Team GB’s squad for the Olympics on Tuesday – has suggested he had not followed protocols when he returned to the UK from a meet.
UKA have launched an investigation and Malcolm refused to rule out Butchart losing his place on the plane to Tokyo.
He said: “Yeah. We’ve just got to wait to find out the the findings of the investigation and what the consequences, if it doesn’t work in his favour, will be. But all options are on the table at the moment.
“We’re extremely privileged to have some of these exemptions for us to be able to be able to travel and to be able to train and so we take this matter very seriously.
“I think the important thing is trying to investigate and find what really happened, what really was said and what was meant by it. So we just have to wait for what the findings are from that.”
Butchart, speaking on an episode of the Sunday Plodcast which has now been deleted, said: “I’m not going to get in trouble from the police or anything like that.
“You have to get a Covid test to get into the UK, so you went to a place to get a PCR test before 48 hours – and I’m with check-in and I don’t have my PCR test back.
“So you have to quickly, like, get an old PCR test, go on to Instagram, scribble out the time and the date, change the time and the date, and like change it so you can get into the country.
“Obviously Covid is huge, but it’s quite annoying. Everybody has faked PCR tests, I’m sure, to try and go somewhere, because it’s just so hard.”
In a later statement to The Times the 29-year-old retracted his claims he had personally faked a Covid test but knew of athletes who had done.
“I have never falsified a PCR test and have always complied with the guidelines of the countries I have been travelling in,” he said.
“The context of the podcast was about how hard it has been for athletes during the pandemic to travel and race, as you are depending on lots of factors that are out of your control.
“I used the example of athletes I know having to use previous PCR results to get through check-in but not immigration. To confirm I have not done this but know of people who have.”
But his actions will now be reviewed ahead of the Olympic Games, which start next month.
A statement from UK Athletics read: “UKA and the BOA (British Olympic Association) are aware of comments made as part of a podcast by a selected athlete today.
“Throughout the pandemic elite sport has been privileged to receive exemptions from various guidelines to enable athletes to continue to train and compete.
“We take very seriously any suggestion that an athlete has not followed these guidelines correctly and broken any COVID-related protocols.
“As a result, this selection will stand subject to further investigation by UK Athletics. No further comment will be made until this investigation is concluded.”