Inappropriate Behaviour in Sport

By Prof Dr Ian Blackshaw

According to a new Report from UK Sport, only 49% of British Olympic and Paralympic Athletes consider that claims of inappropriate behaviour, which includes bullying and other kinds of mistreatment, are actually acted upon by the sports’ governing bodies and have consequences.

This Report comes at a time when there is an independent review of allegations of mistreatment in British Gymnastics, which was commissioned by UK Sport and Sport England. See the Posts on the SLT website by Prof Dr Ian Blackshaw of 8 July and 20 August 2020.

In an interview with the BBC, the chair of UK Sport, Dame Katherine Grainger, said that such behaviour has “no place within sport.”

And added:

Whether it’s the individuals who have acted wrongly or the culture and environment, all of these things can be changed ….. and all of those things can be improved.

At the moment we are still hearing athletes having bad experiences and walking away, we still have work to do.”

When asked whether UK Sport would withdraw funding from sports bodies that failed to improve the welfare of their athletes, she replied in the affirmative and also stated:

It’s not something we do lightly…. [but] …. it’s pubic money …. and we wouldn’t invest in a body that didn’t have the highest ethical standards.”

UK Sport is not a governing body or regulator, so, perhaps it is now time to appoint an independent Sports Ombusman, which was recommended, in 2017, by the Paralympian Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, to deal with cases of inappropriate behaviour in sport!

Prof Dr Ian Blackshaw may be contacted by e-mail at ‘’