Jonathan Browning, the chairman of British Cycling, has issued an apology after accusations of bullying and sexism against top-level cyclists.
The British Cycling chairman said the governing body of cycling in country will be making changes to be more caring to riders. Browning said the organization would also address the concerns raised by MPs at the select committee hearing into doping.
Last year, an investigation into the culture at British Cycling was launched after complaints were made by ex-riders about their treatment. An independent review was commissioned by British Cycling alongside UK Sport after sexist language towards cyclist Jess Varnish was used by former technical director Shane Sutton, who was later cleared of eight of nine allegations. Technical director Shane Sutton stood down after allegations of sexism and bullying. Chief executive Ian Drake also recently stepped aside though he denied that his departure had anything to do with the controversies.
Browning, the former Jaguar and Volkswagen boss, remarked athlete and participant welfare is our highest priority and added work on an action plan to address any "failings" is already under way. The British Cycling chairman also commented that the organization had achieved great success in not only winning races, but bringing new people into the sport and also said but we deeply regret any instance where we have failed to deliver.
The chairman of British Cycling said athlete development has been and will continue to be the key to our success at the highest level. Browning also said this is not about complying to protect funding and further remarked that this is about running and leading our organization in a way that is consistent with our ambition to be a world-class governing body and a great place to work.
Browning, who has 30 years of experience in senior roles in the car industry, remarked British Cycling, in business terms, is making the transition from being a start-up to become a more involved organization with the ambition of being a world-class governing body.
Browning recently replaced Bob Howden, who will stay on as president of cycling’s national governing body. It is believed that Howden stepped down after sexism and bullying allegations scandal in British Cycling. The former British Cycling chief said he always “pushed for a better deal” for women cycling and could hold his head high.
Browning admitted that there have been instances where information about "well reported" incidences of "unacceptable" behavior have been received. British Cycling was now committed to implementing the recommendations of the independent review in full for ensuring the best possible environment in which its athletes could flourish, said Browning.
The British Cycling chairman said the action plan aims to include reviewing procedures around complaints reporting and handling and providing "whole life" development opportunities for every rider and supporting those who leave the program. Browning added the action plan would also include developing a refreshed set of values, behaviors, and leadership principles by which British Cycling will operate.
Liz Nicholl, UK Sport chief executive, remarked valuable lessons have been identified both for British Cycling and other sports it funds by the independent review.
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