On Monday, (HERE), I published an article briefly summarising some of the weekend headlines concerning Triathlon Scotland, published in the Sunday Times Scotland.
Free of any judgement as to the validity – or otherwise – of the content of that Sunday Times article, my focus was primarily around some thoughts on how a governing body may potentially look to address concerns raised. That was with particular thought to the current governance and welfare environment more generally, with reference to some of the recent and ongoing scenarios in other sports.
Triathlon Scotland have now released a statement (in full, below), concerning the Sunday Times article, some of the key points being:
- A complaint was received in December 2019, making allegations against three senior TS staff.
- The TS Board appointed an investigator, supported by a leading sports law firm, to investigate those allegations.
- The investigation included interviews with the senior staff and others involved.
- A full report was submitted to an investigation panel for consideration.
- The investigation is complete, “we are confident in rejecting the statements and claims made in the media.”
- An “internal process is yet to conclude.”
- Separate from the investigation, in November 2019 TS has been working “with sportscotland on a Performance and Coaching Review.”
- That review has involved “Triathlon Scotland staff, partner organisations, coaches, support staff and athletes.”
- That review will be published soon, with it making recommendations for areas of improvement to be addressed.
- Referencing what it calls the “unnecessary publicity”, TS state “We are not complacent, however, and are reviewing our processes and strategy following recent events.”
With respect to those bullet points, what is interesting is that a ‘Performance and Coaching Review’ has / is being undertaken in partnership with sportscotland (the national agency for sport), and that the contents of that review will be published soon. Initiated by Triathlon Scotland in November 2019 – ahead of the December 2019 complaint – the publishing of such a report is certainly in line with the ‘transparency’ issue I raised yesterday, as well as involving an external partner.
All elite sports environments would, regularly, be reviewing their Performance programmes and making changes and improvements – but typically, the results of those would be implemented internally and the audience for the changes would not be for the wider public. Given the headlines over recent days, the publication of those ‘recommendations for areas for improvement’, can only be a positive.
Of course, that potentially opens up Triathlon Scotland to further scrutiny in due course as to the content of such a report and recommendations raised in it, but given the current wider sporting landscape, being open – even if you don’t agree with the findings – is surely the best approach in the long term.
Reproduced in full below is the statement from Triathlon Scotland, issued on Monday 2nd March.
TRIATHLON SCOTLAND STATEMENT ON SUNDAY TIMES ARTICLE
Yesterday an article appeared in the Sunday Times Scotland making allegations about the culture in Triathlon Scotland and particularly about our performance programme.
In December 2019 Triathlon Scotland received a complaint that made allegations against the CEO, the Head of Performance and the Chair of the Board. An investigator was appointed by the Board, supported by a leading sports law firm, to investigate those allegations. A thorough investigation has taken place, including interviews with those named in the complaint and others involved. A full report was then submitted to an investigation panel for consideration. During this process the Board of Triathlon Scotland has sought to uphold our duty of care for all our staff.
While the investigation is complete, the internal process is yet to conclude; however, we are very confident in rejecting the statements and claims made in the media. It is regrettable that these allegations were aired in the media before the internal processes were complete, and we are concerned about the impact on all those involved in the sport, our staff, the many coaches and officials who work tirelessly for our sport, and also on our performance athletes, several of whom are currently on camp.
Separate from the investigation Triathlon Scotland has been working in partnership with sportscotland on a Performance and Coaching Review. This was initiated by Triathlon Scotland in November 2019 and has been a wide-ranging consultation, led by sportscotland, involving Triathlon Scotland staff, partner organisations, coaches, support staff and athletes. This review, which we will publish soon, makes recommendations for areas of improvement, and addressing those will be a priority over coming months.
The Board of Triathlon Scotland want to ensure a positive, safe and supportive environment for all involved in triathlon in Scotland and regret the impact that this unnecessary publicity has had on staff, coaches and on our athletes. We are not complacent, however, and are reviewing our processes and strategy following recent events to ensure that the sport remains an attractive one for all involved.
Gavin Calder, President
Dougie Cameron, Chair
Lynne Lauder, Director of Events and Officiating
Duncan Macrae, Director of Finance
Rob Mitchell, Commercial Director
Penny Rother, Director of Age Group
Rebecca Trengove, Director of Equality and Wellbeing
Louise Wright, Director of Performance