SCOTTISH athletics was confirmed last night to be at the centre of a daring bid for independence - in what is being called a test case for sports administration in post-Brexit Britain.

Mark Munro, the governing body’s chief executive, confirmed that discussions were under way with continental body European Athletics with a view that athletes such as Laura Muir should compete under the saltire rather than the Union Flag in European Championships and European Cross-Country Championships from now on.

While he said that no change was envisaged to World Championships or Olympic competitions, where Scottish athletes would still compete for the United Kingdom or Team GB, it is no-coincidence that this request has arisen shortly after UK Athletics chairman Richard Bowker controversially proposed a plan which would see UK Athletics essentially absorb England Athletics at their joint headquarters in Birmingham to cut costs.

Coming in the wake of the sudden resignation of chief executive Niels de Vos, this has drawn short shrift from the Scottish and Welsh representatives on the UKA Members Council.

Fearing they would be marginalised in a UKA-England Athletics merger, they are calling for the board to remove Bowker as chairman.

With UK Athletics the member nation for European Athletics, any change to the regulations would have to be negotiated in a manner which allows English and Welsh athletes to compete for their home nations too.

“We recently launched our new Strategy document entitled ‘Building a Culture of Success’,” said Munro.

“Enshrined within that document is a principle to try and create more opportunities for Scottish athletes to compete as Scotland at European level.

“Our Chair, Ian Beattie, and I attended the European Athletics Convention in Lausanne recently and in writing to thank them we asked if the possibility could be explored for Scotland – and the other Home nations England, Wales and Northern Ireland – to compete at the likes of the Euro Cross Country Champs (every year) and the European Champs (indoors and outdoors, every two years).

“This has been a topic of discussion by Home Nations and UK Athletics for the past 18 months or so,” Munro added.

“We do not envisage any change to the GB team for World Championships and Olympics events in their two-year and four-year cycles.

“The landscape in sport is always changing and there are other models in British sport of Scotland competing at European level and then contributing athletes/players to GB teams – so we will look at how that framework applies, too.’”