Australia is poised to lose its athletics coach a year out from the Olympics, with head coach Christian Malcolm set to quit to take up the job as head coach of UK Athletics.
Malcolm, who is contracted through until the end of 2021, is set to walk out on Athletics Australia and return to the UK to take up the appointment, according to reports in British press.
Malcolm has told AA that he is likely to get the job which is to be announced next week.
Former head coach Craig Hilliard will be asked to act as interim coach when Malcolm departs.
It had been reported months ago that Malcolm was on the short list for the job in his home country.
He was appointed in December 2018 on a three-year contract to lead Australia to the world championships in Doha last year and take Australia through the Olympic cycle but with the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics that plan has changed.
His likely move leaves Australia looking for a new head coach with less than 12 months before the rescheduled Tokyo Olympics are to be held.
Athletics Australia chief executive Darren Gocher said Australia would look to a local coach if and when Malcolm leaves.
"He served his purpose coming out and helping to set some things up and bring some expertise but going forward we would look to a local candidate with knowledge of local athletes," Gocher said.
"It gives us a good opportunity. He was what we needed at the time to bring in the expertise from overseas but we are in the process of reviewing things now and we will look at a local candidate."
This comes at a point of turmoil and upheaval in Athletics Australia which had to abandon its domestic season last summer because of the COVID-19 crisis.
They have since postponed the World Cross Country Championships which was due to be held in Bathurst in March next next year and the National Cross Country Championship which was to be in Adelaide next month. The Run West program was also abandoned this year.
They have appointed a new head of commercial operations but have been unable to fill a media role.
There is no time frame yet for athletics competitions to resume and no possibility for national events given the current quarantine and border restrictions.
Despite the domestic season being abandoned there had been no competition slated to be held in Melbourne - nominally still the sport's headquarters - last summer.
Regardless some Australian athletes have gone to Europe to compete and have performed well in the Diamond League. Nicola McDermott cleared 1.98m in a competition in Germany last week, placing her second in the all-time list for Australia's women high jumpers.
Stewart McSweyn, Matthew Ramsden and Ryan Gregson all placed in the top five in a 5000m in Gotenburg Sweden. McSewyn won the race in 13:09.83, the third-fastest time of his career.