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British Gymnastics doubles safeguarding spending

British Gymnastics will spend about £1m on welfare and safety spending under new plans

British Gymnastics has doubled its spending on welfare and safe sport to about £1m a year as part of its plan to reform the sport.

It led to the governing body creating an action plan to create safe, positive and fair experiences for gymnasts.

British Gymnastics has had 1,326 concerns raised with the welfare and safe sport team since 2020.

The £1m-a-year figure is double British Gymnastics’ previous spending total on safeguarding from 2020.

Prior to 2020, the governing body would typically receive 200-250 concerns a year in relation to welfare and safety.

Of the 1,326 concerns that have been raised in the past three years, over 75% of them are ‘Level 1’ concerns, which relate to poor practice or are matters that require advice and guidance.

And 22% are ‘Level 2’ concerns, which are more complex and can often involve legal authorities.

The Whyte Review was co-commissioned by UK Sport and Sport England in 2020 following allegations of abuse and mistreatment within gymnastics in Britain.

Its 306-page report outlined incidents of athletes being made to train on broken bones, punished for needing the toilet and sat on by coaches.

British Gymnastics issued a 40-point action plan called ‘Reform ’25’ in October 2022 to make changes in the sport over a two-year period.

It has now completed 11 of the actions, which it says keeps the governing body on track to achieve its aims by 2025.

It has also added a new action to ensure parents’ views are taken into account in the planning and delivery of the new strategy.

Under the plan, British Gymnastics said it would named banned coaches and would publish a list of names of those banned on their website.

While this has yet to happen, it is understood to be close, with the list to include banned coaches from the past 10 years. However, it will not include anyone who is currently suspended or under investigation.

No coach has yet been banned as a result of the Whyte Review.

“While the early progress we are making is encouraging, meaningful change will not happen overnight,” Sarah Powell, chief executive of British Gymnastics, said.

“The progress we have made so far in delivering the actions within ‘Reform ’25’ now provides us with a strong platform to build on so that everyone in gymnastics has a safe, positive and fair experience.”

In the 12-year period covered by the Whyte Review, the governing body received approximately 3,800 complaints.

Yearly cases of abuse have reduced since the review, with 213 cases being overseen by an independent complaints panel.

Outcomes include no action being taken, advice and education being given, or sanctions being applied.

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