By Michael Pavitt |
British Gymnastics’ head national coach Amanda Reddin has temporarily stepped aside during an investigation into claims about her conduct, while the independent review of the governing body has officially been launched.
According to the BBC, Rio 2016 Olympian Ruby Harrold alleged Reddin presided over a “culture of fear” at British Gymnastics camps in Lilleshall and claimed food portions had left her and her fellow gymnasts hungry.
Another gymnast, named Jenny, reportedly made claims dating back to the 1980s, including accusations of physical abuse from the ages of nine to 12, which caused “immense pain”.
Olympic bronze medallist Amy Tinkler has also said part of her complaint to British Gymnastics in December had “related to my experiences with Amanda Reddin and the national performance coaching set up at British Gymnastics between 2016 to 2019”.
British Gymnastics suspended two of Tinkler’s former coaches at South Durham Gymnastics Club earlier this month, which ITV News reported are Rachel Wright and Nicola Preston.
Tinkler had criticised British Gymnastics last month for the length of time taken to resolve her complaint.
The 20-year-old says she has now been informed by British Gymnastics that the matter had been closed, and said she felt “sick” at the way she had received the information.
“On Friday (August 21), and only in response to media pressure, I was emailed informing me that complaints had been dealt with and the matter closed,” Tinkler said.
“No explanation was given.
“The way I received this information made me sick.
“It reinforced mine and every gymnasts fear, which is that their complaints aren’t dealt with fairly and independently.
“This is why we don’t speak up.
“This is why we suffer in silence.
“We know that to speak up is a pointless, career ending task.”
In a statement given to ITV yesterday, Reddin denied the claims and said she would welcome the allegations being submitted to the independent review.
“I completely refute these claims, it is wrong that my reputation within the sport that I love is now subject to a trial by media rather than through the proper processes,” Reddin said.
“I would welcome the allegations be submitted to the independent review into alleged abuse in gymnastics to ensure the integrity of the process is protected for both athletes and coaches.”
British Gymnastics has confirmed Reddin has temporarily stood down from her role.
“British Gymnastics has agreed with Amanda Reddin that she will temporarily step aside from her role as head national coach to allow an investigation to proceed into claims about her conduct as a coach,” a British Gymnastics statement read.
“The investigation will be completed by an external independent expert and any outcome actioned immediately.
“Our processes and investigations will also be scrutinised by the independent review.
“There is no place for abuse in our sport.
“Those that speak out about mistreatment in gymnastics must be heard.
“It is vital, however, that such claims are made through the proper processes to ensure a fair and independent system that protects integrity for all parties involved.”
The independent review, being overseen by UK Sport and Sport England, is now underway.
The review is being led by barrister Anne Whyte, who has experience in investigating non-recent and institutional forms of abuse.
Whyte will be supported by Mike Cave, the academy manager at Fulham Football Club, and former British diver turned coach Tonia Couch.
Whyte is set to investigate the period from August 2008 to August 2020.
The review will investigate the nature and volume of complaints received by British Gymnastics, including allegations of mistreatment, sexual, mental and physical abuse, bullying, harassment and discrimination.
The approach taken by British Gymnastics to resolving complaints, reasons for any delay in complaints being raised, and the adoption and application of safeguarding and complaints procedures will also be investigated.
The culture and practices of British Gymnastics, including its registered clubs, in relation to its treatment of gymnasts and consideration of their welfare will be reviewed.
The review will only consider matters which are within British Gymnastics’ jurisdiction and shall not determine the merits or outcome of any individual complaints,
A separate process is set to be established for individual complaints.
Submissions from all individuals and organisations to the independent review have been requested by September 25.
Allegations of abuse have been made by sisters Becky and Ellie Downie, as well as Olympic bronze medallist Nile Wilson.
Gymnastics New Zealand and the Royal Dutch Gymnastics Union have announced similar independent review processes in recent weeks.
Allegations of abuse have emerged in the wake of the Netflix documentary Athlete A, which focuses on the sexual abuse scandal in the sport in the United States.
Republished with permission from insidethegames.biz.