The Whyte Review: a day of reckoning for British Gymnastics
At 4pm today Anne Whyte QC published her Final Report into allegations of mistreatment within the sport of gymnastics. The 300-page report provides a comprehensive analysis of the way in which British Gymnastics (BG) has failed systemically, persistently and comprehensively in providing a safe space for often very young athletes to train.
The Report covers the period from 2008-2020 and notes that during this period 75% of BG members were under 12 years old (para.2). In this context Anne Whyte’s conclusion that “gymnast wellbeing and welfare has not been at the centre of BG’s culture” (para.5) will be concerning for all parents with children involved with gyms affiliated with British Gymnastics.
Anne Whyte QC reports that:
- over 400 submissions of evidence were received
- 40% of allegations related to physical abuse
- 50% related to emotional abuse
- the vast majority related to female gymnasts.
“The difficulties now confronting BG are borne of inadequate practice and procedure. They also reflect a culture which was less than inclusive and open and which was the product of the way in which people behaved and were allowed to behave” (para.8).
Sarah Moore, comments:
“Anne Whyte QC’s report which sets out British Gymnastics’ sustained and systemic failings to safeguard often very young and vulnerable athletes exposes an organisation that has failed to deal with what she describes as a culture that failed to prioritise athlete welfare."
She adds: "The remit of the Whyte Review was limited to the period from August 2008-August 2020. However, many of those within our group trained at BG facilities from 1985 onwards, and it is noteworthy that the failings identified by the Whyte Review appear to have been in evidence from at least as early as 1985 onwards. In that context, whilst the Whyte Review offers recommendations and hope for the future, BG must also provide timely redress for the generation of gymnasts for whom the Whyte Review recommendations have come too late”.
The media reaction has been overwhelming but a brief selection offers an overview of external reactions to the Report: