UK Athletics says it intends to “root out” coaches who should not be involved in the sport with a review of all historical safeguarding cases which involved sexual activity or grooming with a child or adult at risk.
Between 30 and 40 cases, which did not result in a permanent ban, are expected to be revisited.
A specialist caseworker will take charge of the review, which will prioritise the most serious offences and focus on individuals who may still be associated with the sport, or those in a position where they could return to coaching.
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An independent review of UK Athletics’ policies, published in July 2020, found a “lack of precision” with regard to understanding responsibilities.
Christopher Quinlan QC put forward 29 recommendations in order to create a “modern, fit-for-purpose safeguarding regime” for UK Athletics.
One of those was to carry out the new review into historical cases which will now take place and UKA interim chief executive Mark Munro welcomes the move.
"It is essential that our sport is safe and this exercise is the latest stage in working towards that", he said.
An independent management panel will be used to reconsider sanctions for those involved, after the cases – which date back to 2004 – are reexamined.
The UKA has also revealed its intention to publicly announce if a coach has received an increased of permanent ban from the sport.
These details have not always been published.
Speaking of his acceptance of the review, Munro went on to say, “we want anyone who has experienced abuse to trust that we will do the right thing and that can only be truly achieved if we root out those who should not be operating in our sport and prevent these individuals from being able to return.”
We will not turn our back on behaviours on the basis they are considered 'historic' or in the past.
Munro has warned that the review will not be finished quickly, stating, “this will take us two to three years, I would imagine, to work through all these cases, but for us it's the right thing to do. I want to put that message out that we're doing this proactively, because we think it is absolutely the right thing to do for the sport.”
The governing body has previously been told to take “ownership of all cases” involving safeguarding, as well as ensuring criminal record checks takes place every three years, as well as providing mandatory face-to-face safeguarding training every three years.
Munro says the latest review should not make people worried about getting involved in the sport, but instead see it as a hugely important step forward.
"Do I think it's a safe sport? Absolutely. But we need to make sure it is the safest sport it can possibly be."
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