In­de­pen­dent re­view launched into gym­nas­tics abuse claims

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Sport - By Molly McEl­wee and Jeremy Wil­son The Daily Tele­graph

UK Sport and Sport Eng­land yes­ter­day an­nounced plans to jointly com­mis­sion a re­view into al­le­ga­tions of abuse in gym­nas­tics, while the Bri­tish Ath­letes Com­mis­sion is set­ting up a con­fi­den­tial helpline to pro­vide a “safe place” for ath­letes to re­port con­cerns.

The sport­ing bod­ies have stepped in af­ter Bri­tish Gym­nas­tics re­versed its de­ci­sion to launch a QC-led in­de­pen­dent re­view, fol­low­ing crit­i­cism from ath­letes last week who voiced dis­trust of the gov­ern­ing body’s in­volve­ment.

“It is vi­tal the re­view is un­equiv­o­cally in­de­pen­dent,” Jane Allen, Bri­tish Gym­nas­tics chief ex­ec­u­tive, said in a state­ment yes­ter­day. “It is clear to re­tain the trust of the gym­nas­tics com­mu­nity, we have de­cided to re­cuse our­selves from any man­age­ment of the re­view. Our pri­or­ity is to learn the lessons and en­sure the wel­fare of all those within gym­nas­tics.”

Bri­tish Gym­nas­tics has been over­whelmed by ac­cu­sa­tions of a “cul­ture of fear” in the sport, which in­cluded emo­tional and phys­i­cal abuse by coaches.

UK Sport and Sport Eng­land’s in­ter­ven­tion was in­tended to in­spire con­fi­dence among ath­letes who have ac­cused their na­tional gov­ern­ing body of fail­ures in duty of care.

“UK Sport and Sport Eng­land wel­come and sup­port the de­ci­sion of Bri­tish Gym­nas­tics to step aside from the re­view it an­nounced last week and have agreed to co-com­mis­sion a fully in­de­pen­dent re­view into the se­ri­ous con­cerns raised by gym­nasts,” UK Sport’s state­ment said. “We are work­ing closely with key stake­hold­ers to de­velop the struc­ture of the re­view to en­sure it has cred­i­bil­ity and the con­fi­dence of all of those who have had the courage to come for­ward.”

Mark Eng­land, Team GB’s chef de mis­sion for the Tokyo Games, con­firmed to that any coach still be­ing in­ves­ti­gated next sum­mer would not be per­mit­ted to at­tend the Olympics.

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