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Gymnastics British Gymnastics publishes list of banned coaches in bid to help reform sport

BRITISH Gymnastics has published a list of banned coaches and other individuals as part of its commitment to reform the sport.

The sport’s domestic governing body made the pledge in its “Reform ’25,” a 41-point action-plan designed to ensure all registered clubs in the UK provide a safe environment for participants.

The list, which currently comprises over 60 individuals, will be updated constantly and includes the extent of the bans and whether an individual’s prospective return will be subject to safeguarding.

Geraldine Costello, director of Welfare and Safe Sport at British Gymnastics, said: “Nothing is more important to us than the safety and wellbeing of all those involved in our sport.

“While anyone banned or expelled had already been removed from the environment, we believe publishing this list is in the best interest of the sport and the wider public.”

The “Reform ’25” programme was published in October last year in response to recommendations made in the Whyte review which focused on four key areas — safeguarding, complaints handling, standards and education, and governance and oversight.

The damning 306-page review, published in 2021, accused British Gymnastics of enabling a toxic culture that prioritised profit over the wellbeing of young athletes, and encouraged an era in which they were subjected to shocking levels of emotional and physical abuse.

It outlined incidents of gymnasts forced to train on broken bones, stopped from using the toilet, and subjected to such excessive weight management — some even reported having their bags searched for food — that many suffered eating disorders.

The programme, leading up to 2025, included reforms such as a zero tolerance of any abuse — working with clubs, coaches, gymnasts and parents to ensure an “open, transparent, caring, empowered and safe environment” — and making sure parents and gymnasts are involved in decisions about development, training, and competition age limits.

However, campaign group Gymnasts For Change accused British Gymnastics of “serious institutional betrayal” for not including more people on the list, and saying the gesture was nothing more than an “empty promise.”

In a statement, it said: “As it stands, this list allows many coaches known to Gymnasts For Change, who hold sanctions and who meet the criteria for inclusion in the list, to not be named and instead remain in the sport, leaving the ‘coach-led culture of fear’ described by the Whyte review to continue with business as usual.”

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