British Canoeing has promised a new investigation after claims that an elite coach told a female competitor he could guarantee her team selection in exchange for sex, and asked another athlete to perform a sex act on him.
The sport’s governing body said it was “appalled” by the latest claims, which appeared in a newspaper amid suggestions that there is a culture of cronyism and bullying within the sport.
The Daily Mail said the unnamed coach was suspended in December after an allegation that he asked a GB elite athlete to perform a sex act on him. The same coach was also accused of offering a former under-23 athlete selection for an event abroad in return for sex.
Several more athletes are said to have come forward after concerns were first raised in 2009 about the coach’s relationship with a different female canoeist. At that time a letter from the men’s senior squad saying they did not want the coach to be involved any more was handed to then performance director, John Anderson, but the coach remained employed and moved to a new job.
British canoeing enjoyed its most successful Olympic Games in Rio last year, winning two gold and two silver medals.
Yesterday British Canoeing released a statement saying: “Athletes and their welfare sit at the heart of British Canoeing and we are appalled by the content of the claims being made.
“As a result of a formal complaint received by British Canoeing in December 2016, a member of our performance team was suspended and an independent investigation was immediately initiated.
“This investigation has been concluded and a disciplinary hearing is now pending. However, many of the historical claims referred to within the Daily Mail article were not part of the original investigation and have only come to light over the last few days as a result of our inquiries and witness testimony. We believe this requires further independent investigation and this will commence without delay.”
This is the second recent major scandal to hit British sport following allegations that British Cycling covered up a culture of bullying.