May 16, 2021

Safeguarding in athletics: UKA says ‘a lot more work to be done’ after independent review

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Joanna Coates
Joanna Coates took over as chief executive of UK Athletics in February after Chris Clark stood down as chairman

UK Athletics acknowledges there is “a lot more work to be done” regarding safeguarding after an independent review of its policies found a “lack of precision” in lines of responsibility.

The governing body has been tasked with “taking ownership of all cases”.

It has been told to deny a licence to anyone wanting to coach children or at-risk adults if they refuse to disclose a Criminal Records Check certificate.

Welfare issues in UK sport are under scrutiny after gymnastics abuse claims.

A total of 29 recommendations were put forward by Christopher Quinlan QC, who has completed a UK-wide review of safeguarding and welfare policies in athletics.

UK Athletics (UKA) chief executive Joanna Coates said she “welcomes” the findings and has committed to implementing the recommendations with the home country federations in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

“Whilst the report recognised the commitment of all organisations to creating a safe environment, ultimately the number of recommendations demonstrates that there is a lot more work to be done,” she said.

“It’s not enough to be OK or good – we need to strive to be excellent in this area to ensure the safety of children and vulnerable people,” she said.

“Working in collaboration with the other CEOs, the action plan being developed will enable us to adopt the recommendations as well as ensuring a transparency of reporting every quarter so that progress can be fully monitored across the sport.

“The first steps are under way and we will soon be recruiting the independent expertise needed to enhance the new structure and process for case management.

“I look forward to making the changes needed and I am fully committed to ensuring we have the very best people delivering in this area.”

Coates took over as chief executive of UKA in February.