BISHAM ABBEY, England (Reuters) – Nearly a 3rd of British Olympic and Paralympic athletes have witnessed or skilled ‘unacceptable behaviour’ of their world class programme, in line with a UK Sport report printed on Thursday.
While the ‘Culture Health Check’ report found that greater than 90 p.c of athletes and workers felt proud to be a part of their programme, it additionally recognized numerous key areas the place enchancment was wanted.
Some 31 p.c of athletes ‘disagreed or strongly disagreed’ when requested whether or not they had alternatives to offer suggestions with out concern of unfavourable penalties.
“That is a concern,” UK Sport chief govt Liz Nicholl informed reporters.
“It is a significant number fearing the consequences. That’s something we’ll follow up with the sports. It’s about having an open relationship based on mutual respect.”
Among the 682 elite athletes from summer season sports activities who accomplished the survey, 30 p.c replied sure when requested whether or not they had ever witnessed or skilled unacceptable behaviour of their programme.
However, solely 24 p.c of that quantity formally reported it to their nationwide governing physique and not one of the instances resulted in disciplinary measures.
UK Sport’s head of tradition James Bell mentioned the query had not been time restricted.
“We had some examples of people who had ticked that box but they are talking about historical events that happened,” he mentioned. “In one case in the (2000) Sydney Olympic cycle.”
Thirteen p.c mentioned they’d witnessed unacceptable behaviour and 17 p.c skilled it.
The report, reflecting the nameless suggestions of elite athletes, workers and stakeholders, comes after allegations of sexism and bullying in a few of Britain’s main Olympic and Paralympic sports activities.
An unbiased assessment into British Cycling, one of many nation’s best-funded and most medalled sports activities, in June final 12 months spoke of a “culture of fear” inside the organisation.
Gymnastics, swimming, canoeing and bobsleigh have additionally suffered allegations of inappropriate behaviour amid criticism of what some see as a “win-at-all-cost” method to the Olympics.
Britain completed second within the medals desk on the 2016 Rio Games with 27 gold medals and 67 in whole.
UK Sport chair Katherine Grainger, a former rower and Britain’s most embellished feminine Olympian with a gold and 4 silver medals, mentioned the report was partly “a direct response to some of the challenges we saw last year.”
UK Sport mentioned it could make investments one million kilos in an unbiased athletes’ fee over the cycle to the 2020 Tokyo Summer Games as a part of a spread of initiatives.
The cash, mentioned the physique which oversees the funding of elite sport in Britain, will enable the fee to triple its capability to assist members.
Reporting by Alan Baldwin, modifying by Ian Ransom