A High Court Judge has ruled that gymnastics, a multi-million pound industry operated by it’s Sport England backed governing body, British Gymnastics, is the first business in the UK which should not be subject to any competition.
The ruling, delivered by Judge Melissa Clarke in the High Court in London (pictured above) on Friday, effectively means that no other organisation can operate a gymnastics club or have members without the explicit approval of British Gymnastics.
The decision has already been widely criticised, with gymnasts outraged that the court has stripped them of their choice in choosing who they wish to be affiliated to.
Gymnastics enthusiast Dan Jordan said: “It is outrageous that in this day and age, when as a consumer you have choice in every marketplace, gymnastics stands alone in providing no choice whatsoever. British Gymnastics can now do whatever they like, and charge whatever fees they like, whilst giving a service which many believe to be inadequate. This is a sad day for gymnastics, but more importantly, a terrible day for the average consumer”.
Mainstream sports such as darts, boxing, football and martial arts have multiple governing bodies, and it is universally accepted that this has provided a wider choice, with better services, and lower prices for the consumer.
Experienced sports and media analyst Andy Thorley said “This ruling really does take us back quite a long way. It is now commonly accepted, particularly after the darts experience in the early 1990s, that multiple governing bodies should be able to exist, and they do offer a better choice for the consumer, and can co-exist very happily together”.
Having more than one governing body for a particular sport widens choice and is simply better for everyone. The Judge here appears to have got confused over the difference between a recognised governing body, which must adhere to standards set out by Sport England, and a normal business which is able to trade as a governing body, and attract consumers to it who may not like the offering of the organisation recognised and funded by Sport England. This distinction appears to have been completely missed in this ruling”.
Chris Adams, Chairman of UK Gymnastics, a rival organisation to British Gymnastics said: “This really is a kick in the teeth for all the gymnasts who have had a bad experience with British Gymnastics, which have been well documented in the media over recent years, and who simply do not want to go back to British Gymnastics because of how they were treated. What will happen to them? They will simply have to give up the sport they love. This ruling means that less people will participate in gymnastics whilst the coffers of British Gymnastics, already overflowing and increasing year on year in what is a multi-million pound industry, will keep on growing”.
Mr Adams continued: “We will still continue to fight for gymnasts up and down the country who desperately need an alternative in a marketplace which is now effectively a monopoly”.
UK Gymnastics are appealing the decision in the Courts, a process which, due to the coronavirus pandemic, is likely not to be resolved until next year.
For any media enquiries on the above ring Andy Thorley, 07930 205924Back to Blog