Exclusive: Four key staff at Olympian's former club suspended

Ireland Ellis O'Reilly competes on the Parallel Bars during day two of the 2015 World Gymnastic Championships at The SSE Hydro, Glasgow.
One of those suspended is the former coach of Ellis O'Reilly. Credit: PA

ITV News has learned four senior members of one club, a legacy of the London 2012 Olympics, have been suspended by British Gymnastics. They include the Europa Gym Centre’s managing director Len Arnold and his wife Yvonne, a former Olympian, who were both awarded OBE’s in 2012 for services to gymnastics.

Also suspended is Samantha James the former coach of Ellis O’Reilly who became Ireland’s first ever female Olympic gymnast at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro four years ago.

The fourth person is Emma Sheriff, director and business development manager at the Europa club.

It is not known what the suspensions relate to but they come at the start of a QC-led independent review into allegations of mistreatment in gymnastics.

It is not yet known what the suspensions relate to. Credit: PA

They bring to 11 the number of gymnastics coaches or staff who have either been suspended by British Gymnastics or stepped aside since ITV News first began reporting claims of abuse in the sport at the beginning of July.

When asked by ITV News to comment about today’s developments, Mr. Arnold, on behalf of Europa Gym centre, would only say they denied “any wrongdoing or impropriety.”

Rio Olympian Ellis O’Reilly revealed to ITV News earlier this summer the serious health issues that still plague her as a result of her gymnastics career.

While she enjoyed her time with Team Ireland, she told us she did not see her experiences at Europa in the same way.

Following her revelations, part of a statement from the Europa club read “The welfare of children is always of paramount important to us, we were therefore shocked and saddened to hear these claims.

"We have always sought to place the welfare of gymnasts at the heart of what we do.”

British Gymnastics said on Sunday: “Temporary suspension is a neutral act. This step does not prejudice the outcome of the complaints process but is a precautionary part of appropriate safeguarding practice to prevent any problems from persisting.”