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Thu, April 07, 2022

Sport Integrity: A new independent disclosure and complaints service for Olympic & Paralympic sport

Sport Integrity: A new independent disclosure and complaints service for Olympic & Paralympic sport

Sport Integrity: A new independent disclosure and complaints service for Olympic & Paralympic sport

Sport Integrity, a new independent disclosure and complaints service pilot, is being launched in May to support athletes, coaches and all support personnel within the Olympic and Paralympic high-performance community across the UK. 

The pilot will assist funded National Governing Bodies (NGBs), operating Olympic and Paralympic high-performance programmes, to uphold the highest standards of conduct in their sports.

Sport Integrity will provide an independent and confidential reporting line and an independent investigation process to deal with relevant allegations of bullying, harassment, discrimination, or abuse, and to allow sports to take the appropriate disciplinary action as necessary. These services will be made available free of charge to funded NGBs. 

Sport Integrity will be delivered by Sport Resolutions, an independent sports-specific dispute resolution service, supported by a confidential reporting line hosted by the charity Crimestoppers. Sport Integrity will involve:

  • A ‘safe-space’ for athletes and members of the high-performance community to raise a concern
  • A confidential and independent ‘preliminary assessment’ to establish all the relevant details of the complaint
  • A confidential and independent ‘full investigation’ to establish all the relevant facts relating to a complaint, in order to make recommendations for a disciplinary panel, if appropriate
  • Access to trained mediators as an important first step in the resolution of disputes

Sport Integrity also forms part of the high-performance community’s response to the ‘TRARIIS Review’ into racism and racial inequality in sport, following its recommendation that an independent and impartial investigatory body be established.

Sally Munday, CEO at UK Sport, said: “It is the responsibility of UK Sport to support and promote the highest standards of ethics and integrity from the Olympic and Paralympic high-performance community. It is fundamental to our strategic mission.

“We know that the vast majority of those operating within the Olympic and Paralympic high-performance community already uphold these high standards. However, we also know more needs to be done to call out unacceptable behaviour, and for people to be completely comfortable in doing so.

“We believe that independent resolution can be a highly successful way of resolving disputes efficiently and effectively. Sport Integrity will operate completely independently of UK Sport and we are confident that it will enhance reliability and trust in the Olympic and Paralympic high-performance community.

“We have worked closely with NGBs, the British Athletes Commission and UK Coaching in this area. We have also taken the time to listen to recommendations made as part of our Tackling Racism and Racial Inequality in Sport report. We believe Sport Integrity can be hugely beneficial to funded NGBs and we hope they will value and utilise the service.”

Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston said: “There is no place for discrimination, bullying and harassment in sport or society, so this is a welcome and positive move by UK Sport."

“Our Olympic and Paralympic athletes represent the best of Britain and this new service will empower them to speak up and call out wrongdoing and poor behaviour wherever it arises.”

Richard Harry, Chief Executive of Sport Resolutions, said: “Establishing Sport Integrity is an important step to give those in elite sport the ability to raise legitimate concerns in a safe and structured way. Sport Resolutions is proud to be associated with this service, providing an independent means to enhance standards and integrity within sport. Importantly, the structure of the service also provides a mechanism for early intervention and the prospect of resolving issues before they escalate.”

Mark Hallas, Chief Executive of the charity Crimestoppers, said: “We know that the vast majority of our elite sportspeople play by the rules and uphold the highest standards. However, sadly, a small minority fall short. It is to help tackle such cases where we are providing a tailored confidential reporting option, giving those with concerns a trusted means to speak up about what they know.”

Andy Salmon, CEO at British Triathlon, said: “The role of National Governing Bodies continues to expand and on the rare occasions when things go wrong, it is vital that individuals feel comfortable calling out unacceptable behaviour. In addition, the option to utilise an independent resolution service will be helpful to protect the integrity of the sporting system and assure everyone involved that their disclosures will be thoroughly and independently dealt with. We look forward to working with Sport Integrity.”

Georgina Usher, CEO at British Fencing, said: “This is an important next step in strengthening our sporting system, underpinning the responsibility of all in performance sport to deliver training and competition environments which uphold and promote the highest standards of ethics and integrity for all participants.”

Sarah Newton, Chief Operating Officer at the British Athlete Commission, said: “We are proud to have been involved in the development of Sport Integrity, and will proactively promote this service among our members as an additional way of athletes being able to raise any issues they may have. We know from experience the importance of giving athletes an independent mechanism to report concerns, and any avenue which allows them to do that will only strengthen the high-performance system.”

Mark Gannon, CEO at UK Coaching, said: “The health, safety and wellbeing of all involved in sport and physical activity should be paramount. We know that high-performance sport can create a pressured environment, so it’s crucial that athletes, coaches and supporting roles at any level should be able to independently raise any concerns in a safe and confidential manner.

“Nothing is more important than the protection of individuals, and Sport Integrity is a step in the right direction in making sure that everyone can feel safe and supported in their respective roles.”

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