Gymnastics body’s £700k cut after ‘damning’ report
The governing body for gymnastics in Scotland has been stripped of more than £700,000 in public funding following a “damning” investigation into claims of mismanagement.
The Scottish Gymnastic Association (SGA) was due to be handed the cash by sportsscotland, the government quango which promotes sport north of the Border.
But following the publication of an investigatory report by a former Registrar General for Scotland, Duncan Macniven, the funding is now being withheld.
The investigation was launched after two members of the SGA were the subject of an internal disciplinary inquiry.
The pair were questioned by a disciplinary panel after a gymnastic club, where one of them worked as a volunteer, was awarded a lease on a property owned by Aberdeen College, despite a rival bid from another club. The second member of SGA staff had written letters of support for both bids, but the rival club claimed their reference was less favourable than the submission backing the SGA employee’s club. Sportscotland has published on its website the report, which is highly critical of SGA’s senior management.
A sportsscotland insider said: “We received serious allegations that the management in the SGA had not been treating their staff properly and that they failed to apply their own disciplinary and child-protection policies.
“It’s clear that they have been presiding over a culture of fear, bullying and intimidation which simply cannot be allowed to continue. We have lost all confidence in the SGA leadership and will not risk spending any further public money while this organisation is being so chaotically led.”
He added that despite £1.5m of public funding over the last three years the SGA has produced fewer competitive gymnasts than it did five years ago.
The SGA was unavailable for comment last night.
Lynn Milne, President, Scottish Gymnastics Association commented: “We totally refute the findings of this report and these unfounded allegations. The findings are factually incorrect and wholly mis-representative. This highly inaccurate report is an unfortunate distraction for a very successful governing body and an increasingly popular sport which contributes significantly to the well being and fitness of Scotland and the agenda of the Scottish Government.
“It is important to state that we have always worked in partnership with sportscotland and have a strong leadership team which has achieved independent recognition for its high governance standards. The organisation has an exemplary record on child protection and we take every step possible to ensure the safety of children. Due to ongoing legal proceedings, including a police investigation of an individual who was reported to police by Scottish Gymnastics, we requested a delay to the preparation of the report until we were in a position to provide the necessary evidence. We advised Stewart Harris, chief executive of sportscotland of this at the outset and on several occasions since and were initially assured that the report would not be completed until we were in a position to co-operate fully. Despite these assurances the report was completed without our evidence. Consequently, the findings were drawn from insufficient, incomplete and in some cases wholly incorrect information. Therefore we do not accept the findings and deem the report entirely mis-representative of the facts.
“At the same time as the disciplinary hearings we were subject to our routine ‘Fit for Purpose’ audit, undertaken by leading auditors, Deloittes. This audit report makes it clear that Deloittes has awarded Scottish Gymnastics the second highest rating achievable for our Corporate Governance and commended the organisation for our high governance standards.
“In relation to the comments on following our procedures, fortunately child protection concerns are rare, but if we do have to alert the police we are duty bound to suspend our normal procedures to avoid the risk of impacting on any police investigations.”
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