We are responding today to media reports which comment on our performance as a National Governing Body.
NGBs are under increased public scrutiny and we welcome this. We are held accountable by our membership, the public and the government, and our actions must always demonstrate we are worthy of their support and investment. We must operate in a transparent way and I would like to share more information on some of the concerns raised today.
We are currently in consultation with elite athletes regarding their athlete agreements which they enter to clarify respective responsibilities and obligations. These include (but are not limited to) agreement to an individual athlete plan, sports science and medical services, standards of conduct and commercial agreements. A new agreement is issued annually and this agreement, including the consultation process, is normal procedure for Olympic sports.
British Gymnastics is working hard to ensure that all athletes are comfortable with the agreement before signing because we respect their views on matters that directly impact them. Whilst we had planned to have the agreements signed before the Artistic World Championships in October, once it was understood that the athletes wanted more time to review the agreement, we naturally agreed to this.
To date, over fifty-percent of the athletes have already signed the agreement. No athlete has refused to sign and the consultation process is still on-going. We do not believe that there is any serious conflict with our athletes, who are valued members of British Gymnastics.
Our safeguarding processes are robust and I can assure people that complaints and appeals, regardless of their nature, are dealt with fairly and effectively where we have the authority to act. This includes the two cases referred to in the Guardian article today and therefore we refute the accusations made.
British Gymnastics has a track record of good governance as evidenced by our adherence to the UK Sport ‘Code of Sports Governance’.
We take all of our responsibilities towards our staff, coaches, participants and elite athletes extremely seriously. We have robust governance policies and procedures to cover safeguarding, complaints, standards of conduct and GB team selections, all available online.
We have today been made aware of additional welfare concerns and encourage anyone with a concern or complaint to come forward. We offer our assurance that all matters will be dealt with appropriately and impartially.
I am proud to lead an organisation committed to creating and inspiring lasting success for gymnastics, as well as driving through important and positive change. This can include making difficult decisions that may be challenged.
As CEO of British Gymnastics, I strive to instil a culture of honesty, openness, trust, respect and support. I always welcome debate and listen to constructive feedback.
We want to make the nation proud but ‘how we win’ is just as important. This administration has never had a desire to win at any cost and under my leadership I expect the athletes’ welfare to be given the highest priority.