British Gymnastics chief Jane Allen will retire from role in December after allegations of abuse and bullying in her organisation
- British Gymnastics has been hit by allegations from British Olympic athletes
- The Whyte Review has been set up to address claims of abuse and bullying
- CEO Jane Allen described recent developments as ‘extremely difficult’
- Becky and Ellie Downie and Amy Tinkler have said serious complaints against coaches have not been dealt with efficiently under Allen’s watch
Under-fire British Gymnastics chief executive Jane Allen will retire from the role in December amid escalating allegations of bullying and abuse within the domestic sport.
Allen described the recent developments as ‘extremely difficult’ and pledged her continued support for the Whyte Review, a joint UK Sport and Sport England investigation established in August to address the mounting claims.
The 65-year-old’s departure will be welcomed by top gymnasts including Olympians Becky and Ellie Downie and Amy Tinkler, who described incidents of weight-shaming and say serious complaints against coaches have not been dealt with efficiently under Allen’s watch.
Jane Allen will retire from her role as chief executive of British Gymnastics in December
Amy Tinkler has spoken out about the abuse she felt she suffered at British Gymnastics
Allen said: ‘The last few months have been extremely difficult, but I will look back on my time with British Gymnastics with great pride for the growth and success we have sustained over a 10-year period.
‘The Whyte Review will be an important step forward for gymnastics and other sports struggling to deal effectively with these issues. It is vital that this happens in a fair and transparent manner for all parties and I pledge my support to helping the sport to do that.’
Allen intended to retire after the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, but agreed to extend her time at the helm due to the delay caused by the coronavirus pandemic, and to help deal with the abuse claims, the PA news agency understands.
Allen assumed the role with British Gymnastics in 2010 after 13 years in an equivalent position with Gymnastics Australia.
She presided over an unprecedented period of success including a record seven medals at the 2016 Rio Olympics, and was awarded an MBE for services to the sport in this year’s New Year’s Honours List.
Tinkler (L) won Olympic bronze at Rio 2016, finishing behind four-time gold medallist Simone Biles (C) and fellow American Aly Raisman (R), but says the success was not worth the struggle
But she increasingly found herself at the centre of abuse allegations both at elite and club level, with almost 200 gymnasts registering complaints to a joint British Athletics Commission and NSPCC helpline.
In July, Allen admitted she was ‘appalled and ashamed’ by allegations of bullying and abuse within the domestic sport, and applauded the ‘bravery’ of those speaking out.
The following month, it was announced that she was temporarily standing down from her role on UK Sport’s major events panel to avoid perceived conflicts of interest over the Whyte Review.
Tinkler sais last week she was ‘terrified’ of former head female coach, Amanda Reddin (L)
Amanda Reddin has temporarily stepped down from her role as national coach pending a separate investigation into allegations of improprieties, which she vigorously denies.
And last month fellow national coach Colin Still was also placed under investigation after Tinkler released a string of emails in which he appeared to allude to the Rio 2016 bronze medallist as a ‘fat dwarf’.
British Gymnastics say they are in no rush to appoint a successor to Allen, and that an interim chief executive will be announced in due course.