A recent High Court ruling has left a cloud of uncertainty hanging over hundreds of gymnastics clubs right across the UK.
In what has been termed the most bizarre High Court ruling in sport for decades, Judge Melissa Clarke decided that UK Gymnastics, who work with independent gymnastics clubs in the UK, are effectively passing themselves off as British Gymnastics.
The ruling has sent reverberations around the sport of gymnastics with hundreds of gymnastics clubs now pondering their own futures.
Jason Wise of UK Gymnastics said: “This decision is devastating for the hundreds of gymnastics clubs and businesses everywhere. We estimate that there may be as many as 50,000 young people using an independent gymnastics club, and I can only foresee, if this decision is allowed to stand, an enormous fall in gymnastics participation in this country, which not only would be devastating for the sport, but would be devastating for the country just as we are trying to get people fit as we come out of lockdown
Mr Wise continued: “The Government now needs to do something. Effectively Melissa Clarke is trying to stop free people in a free country from having free choice about where they play their chosen sport, and who they want to associate with. And do we really want to close down hundreds of viable businesses simply because they want choice and do not pay a fee to British Gymnastics, because they are afraid they too will be open to a claim of passing off under the new decision?”
“This is an enormous landmark judgement. It will mean businesses closing. The Judge has effectively said there can be no competition whatsoever in a particular business sector, and that those individuals, which have been well documented, and have felt badly treated by British Gymnastics in the past, may now have to return to the organisation who they were desperate to leave in the first place. It will only result in less people involved in gymnastics and taking part”, said Mr Wise.
“It is our duty now to appeal this decision, not only for us, but for the tens of thousands of gymnasts, and hundreds of clubs around the country, who need this decision overturned quickly. If it isn’t, then hundreds of jobs could be lost, as well as the damage to the sport which could be irreparable, but let me be clear, we are going nowhere and will be providing the same service to our members whatever happens. It is the smaller clubs that I worry about when British Gymnastics come knocking on their door, but we will do everything to support them”, said Mr Wise.
Lawyers have already been instructed to lodge an Appeal against the ruling.
Andy ThorleyBack to Blog