The ongoing row between gymnastics two governing bodies appears to have resulted in a fierce backlash against the sport’s recognised governing body, British Gymnastics.
British Gymnastics hit the national media for all the wrong reasons this week as the wider public is now aware of what everyone in the sport already knew. Dozens of athletes have come forward to talk about the “culture of fear” and the awful bullying they have been subjected to, and this has left many looking for an alternative.
Jason Wise of UK gymnastics said: “We are seeing really strong numbers of both gymnasts and clubs who have approached us wanting to leave British Gymnastics and come to us”.
Last month, the High Court ruled that UK Gymnastics, by running tournaments and attracting memberships, had been passing themselves off as the sports recognised governing body, British Gymnastics, in a decision that is being challenged.
Mr Wise continued: “We had no idea that there would be such a backlash against British Gymnastics. Of course, everybody in the sport knows about the ‘culture of fear’, and that is why so many gymnasts and clubs have come to us over the years, because they simply want to get away from that culture within British Gymnastics, but we didn’t anticipate the high volumes of new enquiries which we are now receiving”.
Mr Wise also explained how, because of the High Court ruling, UK Gymnastics will be looking to rebrand. “We actually see this judgement as an opportunity for us to come out even stronger the other side,” he explained. “It has pushed us into a rebrand which we have wanted to do for a long time, but never got around to doing. We are also looking at new and innovative ways to offer a completely different alternative, and more choice, to gymnasts and clubs up and down the country. I can only see more and more people coming to us over the next few months”.
Chris Adams, Chairman of UK Gymnastics said: “British Gymnastics probably thought this judgement would be the end of the matter. On the contrary. Instead, it has started a new beginning both for us and the sport. People are sick and tired of how they have been treated by British Gymnastics and they want an alternative. We will deliver that alternative by offering more choice, and fresh ideas which is what the sport desperately needs right now. From the initial figures coming in, it looks like we are going from strength to strength”.
Mr Wise added: “Any gymnastics clubs or members who are worried about what this judgement means to them can rest assured that we stand right beside them and common sense will finally prevail. You simply cannot take away choice from the consumer, or tell people who they must affiliate to, or how they can run their own business. That age has gone”.
Mr Adams said: “The court’s decision, far from dampening down this matter, has actually ignited something which could, in the end, spell an enormous loss of memberships to British Gymnastics, and we are seeing the first wave of that right now”.
“Ironically, the very thing British Gymnastics wanted to avoid – competition – might just be the thing which really takes hold in the gymnastics world now that this issue has come to light. Others will be thinking: ‘Hey, I don’t have to be with British Gymnastics come what may, I can do my own thing, as long as it is within the rules. I rather think the dominance of one business monopolising it’s sector in sport is now coming to an end”, said Mr Adams.Back to Blog