UK Sport and Sport England outline commitments to strengthen safeguarding

(Reuters) - UK Sport and Sport England on Monday outlined plans to "support improved safeguarding and wellbeing for everyone involved in sport" in response to a damning report that uncovered a culture of abuse in gymnastics last year.

The Whyte Review, published in June, showed that British gymnasts were subjected to widespread physical and mental abuse in a system where such behaviour was condoned in the pursuit of national and international success.

UK Sport and Sport England said they have agreed to implement 19 commitments which cover the areas of "coaching and workforce support, performance athlete support, good governance, dispute resolution and creating safer environments for participants".

"Sport delivers so much positive impact for our society, communities and people," Sport England CEO Tim Hollingsworth and UK Sport CEO Sally Munday said in a statement.

"We have a responsibility to the gymnasts, parents, coaches and others to ensure their bravery in stepping forward and contributing to the review doesn't just lead to progress in their own sport, but has a lasting legacy across all of sport.

"This package of reforms incorporate change in areas where we as Sports Councils have agency and jurisdiction, but we also remain in ongoing conversation with government around wider reforms in the sector."

The establishment of an independent representative body for coaches, a national network of regional welfare officers to promote "safe sport on a local level" and a national registration scheme for sports coaches were among the commitments outlined by the bodies.

Sport England will also continue to develop the Safeguarding Case Management Programme, which was launched in 2019 to provide sporting organisations access to expert safeguarding and legal support.

UK Sport will work to ensure athletes have more say in high-performance policy development and that athletes, and parents and carers receive holistic guidance on life in a high-performance programme.

The bodies added that there was still work to be done to "ensure all sport is consistently safe, welcoming and inclusive for all".

"Organisations with leadership roles in sport have a tremendous responsibility to ensure the safeguarding and wellbeing of people taking part, but this responsibility extends to everyone involved in sport, whatever their role," said British Triathlon CEO Andy Salmon.

"British Triathlon welcomes these commitments and recognises them as a significant development and opportunity for positive change."

(Reporting by Aadi Nair in Nashik, India, editing by Pritha Sarkar)