Independent review launched into gymnastics abuse claims
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.