UK Sport and Sport England have today published the Whyte Review; an independent report they co-commissioned, to examine allegations of mistreatment in the sport of gymnastics.
On publication of the Whyte Review, the CEOs of the commissioning bodies, Sport England’s Tim Hollingsworth and UK Sport’s Sally Munday, provided the following joint statement:
We co-commissioned this Review following a number of deeply concerning reports about the treatment of gymnasts, from grassroots through to the elite end of the sport, with a view to understanding the experiences of those gymnasts and determining any required change.
We welcome today’s report and accept and endorse all of its recommendations.
The gymnasts’ experiences shared in this Review are harrowing and distressing to read. No-one in sport should ever be subjected to such abuse.
We want to publicly acknowledge and thank all of those who were courageous in coming forward. Your voices are heard. You have played a vital part in fundamentally shaping the future of gymnastics in Britain, to help make it safe and inclusive for future generations to come.
We believe that every gymnast should have a positive experience of their sport. Culture and welfare within a sport must be led and championed by its governing body, with the full support of everyone involved in the sport, from coaches, administrators and volunteers to parents and participants.
Duty of care to athletes and participants is the responsibility of national governing bodies. British Gymnastics clearly fell short of this.
As the funding bodies, we have assurance systems in place to support national governing bodies. Today’s report recognises that in recent years, improvements have been made to those assurance systems. Nevertheless, as the report found, the assurance systems in place clearly did not identify, until relatively recently, long-standing cultural problems in Gymnastics, and for this we are sorry.
Sport England and UK Sport remain unequivocal in our shared commitment to support governing bodies to drive a culture in their sport that upholds the highest standards of ethics, integrity and welfare, whether on the world stage or at a community level.
Today’s report concludes the sport of gymnastics is already undergoing change for the good. At this time, our intention is to continue to fund British Gymnastics, as we believe that withdrawing funding would not only prevent them from implementing the vital changes outlined in the report but also negatively impact on the support to and wellbeing of gymnasts now.
However, we are clear that continued funding for British Gymnastics will depend on its new leadership team making significant changes to the sport, to the timelines set out in the report’s recommendations.
We must not rest until we have a sporting system that fully champions and enables participant and athlete wellbeing. Following today’s publication, we will now be taking the time to review the report’s implications in greater detail and will publicly share plans for further change later this year.
Finally, we wish to take the opportunity to thank Anne Whyte, QC and her team for conducting with such diligence today’s review, which will play a significant role in shaping a more positive future for gymnastics.
Sally Munday and Tim Hollingsworth
Chief executives of UK Sport and Sport England
The full report has been published on the Whyte Review website which you can access here.
Please note: The Review concerns some sensitive and upsetting information. For some, including those who have personal experience of harm or abuse, this may be distressing.
For anyone that has been affected by the findings detailed by the Review British Gymnastics have set up a free and confidential NSPCC Helpline on 0800 587 6696.
If you want to raise a concern you can do this via sport integrity which provides a confidential & independent investigation process to establish all the relevant facts relating to a complaint. Independent and confidential reports through Sport Integrity will allow sports to take the appropriate disciplinary action as necessary to deal with these issues.
Free to funded NGBs, the reporting line provides a process to deal with relevant allegations of bullying, harassment, discrimination, & abuse. http://sportintegrity.com