Jane Allen set to retire from GB Gymnastics after culture of bullying revealed

Jane Allen will step down as CEO from GB Gymnastics after calls for her resignation, Lucy Nelson reports

Lucy Nelson
2nd November 2020
Image: The Courier
Jane Allen has announced she will be stepping down as British Gymnastics chief executive after ten years in the role.

British Gymnastics is currently under an independent review into abuse claims, led by Anne Whyte QC and co-commissioned by Sport England and UK Sport. Allen denies that her decision to step down is related to the investigation or calls from GB gymnasts, including former Commonwealth Games gold medallist Lisa Mason, for her to step down.

Following a series of welfare scandals that have arisen in British Sport, Allen believes that the time has come to establish an independent process to deal with complaints from athletes. This would ensure the most appropriate course of action is taken for the well-being and safeguarding of both athletes and coaches. 

The 2020 UK Sport’s Health Culture survey showed that only 53% of athletes believe there are consequences when people behave inappropriately – a rise from 44% in 2018.

However, it is clear that work still needs to be done within UK sport. It is critical to ensure that everyone involved in sport (coaches, in particular) are held accountable for their actions. 

Despite the abuse claims under Allen’s leadership, GB Gymnastics has been successful on the international stage - winning 11 Olympic medals. Allen has overseen a period of transition in which GB Gymnastics restructured, rebranded, and revised its strategic priorities. They have helped grow the sport at both grassroots and elite levels, with around 300,000 people now affiliated with GB Gymnastics. In 2015, GB Gymnastics won NGB of the Year, after the governing body trained 13,500 coaches to teach and deliver the sport around the country.

Allen has said that she looks back on her time as chief executive with “great pride”. Yet to many, her legacy will be one associated with abuse scandals and the organisation's lack of action to help those involved. An interim chief executive will be announced in the coming months, who will face the challenge of dealing with Allen’s legacy in the sport.

Featured Image: Twitter @BBCSport
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