Coach was suspended last December despite initial concerns being raised in 2009
BRITISH CANOEING has been rocked by claims a high profile coach guaranteed female athletes their place in the team in exchange for sex and sexual acts.
The coach was suspended last December whilst UK Sport continue to carry out a “full and independent investigation”.
According to the Daily Mail, an allegation was made after the coach asked a Great British elite athlete to perform a sex act on him.
The scandal has posed serious doubts over the future of British Canoeing and the £19million funding it receives from UK Sport.
The British Canoeing team enjoyed their most successful Olympic Games in Rio last year, winning three gold medals and two silvers, whilst the Paralympic team took home three golds and two bronze medals.
But they are now facing a fight for their future following the latest shock allegations.
Speaking to the Daily Mail, one athlete recalled the time they first raised doubts with the committee.
They said: “‘We were away on a trip and the girl, who was 18, got ill and moved into [the coach’s] room to get better.
“I thought it was inappropriate and outrageous, so raised it to the administrative aide who was on the trip. She agreed with me initially, and said it was a bit bizarre.
“When we got back to the UK, I was called in to see her and [the coach] and was told by the two of them, in no uncertain terms, ‘Do not talk about [the coach] in this way and create rumours, because it’s very bad for someone’s career’.”
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It was also claimed that the coach rang one witness’s parents and threatened to kill their family after allegations came to light in 2009.
The parent alleged: “I returned a phone call from [the coach] explaining my son had been questioned by the team leader and that most paddlers on the team did not like what had been happening.
‘The coach then became abusive and said he was going to come to my house and kill my son, kill me and kill my wife.”
Former performance director John Anderson MBE has taken a huge brunt of the criticism for keeping the coach amongst the team.
In 2009 the entire men’s senior squad signed a letter saying they didn’t want the coach to be involved because they felt he was a risk to athlete welfare.
But after Anderson received the letter, the coach was only moved to a different area of the performance programme.
The parent also admitted they spoke to Anderson after the coach’s threats and questioned why he has an MBE.
They added: “I decided to speak to John Anderson. I felt very intimidated but stated that I believed the coach was currently psychologically not fit for the position he was in.
“There is more than a touch of cronyism here and for John Anderson to leave his post with an MBE is a complete disgrace.
“I personally would not encourage any athletes to follow the Olympic pathway in canoeing until we have a much more open system.”