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Abuse in Sport: Athletes treated like “pieces of meat”

By Prof Dr Ian Blackshaw

It is reported that there have been 19 allegations of abuse or neglect of British world-class athletes by coaches since 2017, including 7 such cases this year.

There have also been two allegations of athletes abusing their coaches – one in 2018 and one in 2020.

However, there have been no allegations of physical abuse or sexual activity of under-age athletes.

Olympian Nile Wilson said that British Gymnasts are treated “like pieces of meat.” And a spate of allegations of abuse of British Gymnasts has led to an independent enquiry. See the Post of 8 July 2020 by Ian Blackshaw on the SLT website.

In many cases of abuse, athletes were afraid to report such instances for fear of losing funding or not being selected.

Sally Munday, the Chief Executive of UK Sport said that she was “always concerned” to hear of “unacceptable behaviour” against athletes.

She added that “we take athlete welfare extremely seriously – and we believe that, whenever unacceptable behaviour does occur, it must be reported. While UK Sport does not have the authority to investigate such cases, as an investment agency we need to ensure public funding only supports athletes and staff who uphold high standards of conduct.”

Indeed, one cannot expect anything less!

Prof Dr Ian Blackshaw may be contacted by e-mail at ‘This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Global Sports Law and Taxation Reports feature: articles; comparative surveys; commentaries on topical sports legal and tax issues and documentation.

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The Editors

The editors of  the Journal Sports Law & Taxation are Professor Ian Blackshaw and Dr Rijkele Betten, with specialist contributions from the world's leading practitioners and academics in the sports law and taxation fields.

The Editors

Managing editor
Dr. Rijkele Betten

Consulting editor
Prof. Dr. Ian S. Blackshaw

Editorial board

Prof. Guglielmo Maisto
Maisto e Associati, Milano

Dr. Dick Molenaar
All Arts Tax Advisors, Rotterdam


Mr. Kevin Offer
Hardwick & Morris LLP, London

Mr. Mario Tenore
Maisto e Associati, Milano


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