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Former UK Athletics chief Neil Black dies

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London (AFP)

Former UK Athletics performance director Neil Black, who defended Mo Farah's involvement with now-banned coach Alberto Salazar, has died, the governing body announced on Tuesday.

Black left his role last year after US authorities handed down a four-year doping ban to Salazar.

Black was in charge when UK Athletics appointed Salazar as a consultant to its endurance programme in 2013.

Salazar worked closely with Farah at his Oregon Project group and the Briton won four Olympic gold medals on the track, two at London 2012 and two more at Rio four years later.

Black had previously described Salazar as a "genius".

There is no suggestion of wrongdoing from Black or Farah.

A British Athletics statement read: "British Athletics is shocked and saddened to confirm the loss of our friend and former colleague Neil Black, who passed away suddenly at the weekend.

"Neil loved the sport of athletics and dedicated his life to supporting athletes -- as a world-class physiotherapist, as head of sport science, and then in recent years as performance director for British Athletics."

Black took up the UK Athletics performance director role in 2012 after Charles van Commenee left his position as Olympic head coach.

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