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British Cycling kicks off organisational review amid high profile sexism allegations

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UK Sport and British Cycling have kicked off a review of the governing body’s “climate and culture” amid high profile allegations of sexism levelled at former technical director Shane Sutton.

Chair of British Rowing and board member of the British Olympic Association Annamarie Phelps has been drafted in to chair the review into British Cycling’s World Class Programme.

The review – which will begin imminently and conclude shortly after the Rio Olympics – will look into all forms of discrimination and bullying within the organisation and try to find out if there are any “fundamental behavioural issues” that need to be addressed.

While UK Sport and British Cycling have stressed that the review does not include the governing body’s own investigation into the “alleged misconduct” of Sutton, lessons learnt from the investigation will be incorporated into the review.

Performance chief Sutton resigned earlier this week after British cyclist Jess Varnish alleged that he had made sexist comments to her after she failed to make the cut for the Great Britain team headed for Brazil this summer. British Cycling is also investigating whether the Australian had made derogatory remarks about Para-cyclists.

Marian Lauder, a non-executive director of British Cycling, and UK Sport chief executive Liz Nicholl have formed a Commissioning Board, which will support a review panel being put together by Phelps. The review panel will include a “balance of professional skills, leadership and experience and an athlete’s perspective”.

Key finding and recommendations of the review will be published following its conclusion.

Following the conclusion, UK Sport will consider the implications of the review for the public investors in British Cycling, and will additionally investigate any broad themes that emerge about the development of the high-performance system.

Bob Howden, president of British Cycling, said the organisation is treating the allegations “very seriously” and that they will be “fully investigated”.

“Whatever the outcome of the review, I’m sure that there will be valuable lessons to learn and things that we can improve on as we strive to further build on the many positive achievements of the past two decades,” he added.

Nicholl agreed that the allegations were “deeply troubling” and that “long-term cultural issues” had to be fully investigated.

“I fully understand the importance of leading this enquiry,” said Phelps. “I will do so to my best abilities and in the best interest of sport in the UK.”

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UK Sport and British Cycling have kicked off a review of the governing body’s “climate and culture” amid high profile allegations of sexism levelled at former technical director Shane Sutton.
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