Review into British Gymnastics abuse allegations refers serious cases to authorities

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  • Words by ITV News Sport Producer Daniel Salisbury-Jones

The independent review of British Gymnastics has found dozens of cases so serious, they alerted authorities because of suspected criminal conduct or children being at risk.

The findings were in an interim report of the Whyte Review, which is investigating British Gymnastics following a series of allegations first reported by ITV News in 2020.

Almost 400 individuals have contributed to the review which has heard "re-occurring issues" of bullying, extreme weight management and the use of excessive physical force among other complaints. 

British gymnastics has been hit by a wave of allegations made by athletes. Credit: PA

A total of 39 submissions to the review were deemed so serious that they were referred to statutory authorities. This is only done when it suspects a child is at risk or there are concerns over ongoing criminal conduct.

More than 90 clubs and 100 coaches have been identified in the submissions which range from the Olympic level to the grassroots of the sport.

A call for evidence in the autumn of 2020 "exceeded expectations" and the full report is now hoped to be completed by the end of August, just after the Tokyo Olympics.

One of the reasons it is taking so long, is the reviewing past complaints.

British Gymnastics estimates it has up to 3,500 closed cases over the relevant years 2008-2020. It has only been able to provide information on the most recent 1,000 cases because of changes in its case management system. 

Jane Allen took over as CEO of British Gymnastics in 2010.

British Gymnastics interim CEO Alastair Marks, who took over from Jane Allen in January, said: "British Gymnastics welcomes the Whyte Review’s interim report. We are fully committed to doing everything possible to help the review get the answers it needs to do what is right for the sport and gymnasts.

"I remain appalled by the claims I have heard and alarmed that some gymnasts do not feel that they can have their voice heard and have a future within the sport. I want to be clear to them that I will fight to ensure that no one raising concerns will ever see their gymnastic opportunities detrimentally impacted.

"There is no place for abuse in our sport and we are determined and committed to change it for the better.

ITV News exposed the growing scandal of bullying and abuse in British Gymnastics Credit: ITV News

"It is important to say that I have been encouraged by my conversations with the gymnastics community, including current and former gymnasts and coaches.

"There is a clear commitment and desire for us all to work together to drive further positive change that I will ensure happens.

"With hundreds of thousands of gymnasts looking forward to returning to the sport they love in the coming weeks we will continue to work hard to ensure the positives of the sport shine through again, including the dedication of thousands of coaches in communities across the country."