BBSA statement: Independent Investigation

BBSA statement: Independent Investigation

We welcome the findings of the long-awaited independent investigation into the allegations of Board wrongdoing made by a former Director, Colin Rattigan.

The allegations were of a very serious nature: harassment, victimisation, bullying, racial discrimination, financial mismanagement and the falsification of corporate records. The discriminatory behaviour was alleged to be against Colin Rattigan, Coaches and Athletes. Of the eight allegations, not one was substantiated. These allegations came from Colin Rattigan alone.

From the moment the Board of the BBSA was made aware of the allegations, we co-operated fully with UK Sport in its desire to appoint a firm of Independent Investigators to carry out a thorough investigation, with the Directors making themselves available for interview and providing detailed documentation whenever requested. Over a 10-month period, the Chair of the BBSA, Joanna Poulton, was interviewed on no fewer than four occasions, with the rest of the Board interviewed at least once and, indeed, many of them twice.

The Board members accepted substantial delays to the completion of the Report to accommodate multiple requests for extensions to the time for Colin Rattigan to submit himself to a full-disclosure interview - something which, in the end, he never did. To accuse fellow Directors and the Board as a whole and then refuse to engage meaningfully with the investigation ge himself had requested is not only unhelpful but, in our view, unethical.

We have followed the terms of the Investigation throughout including upholding our commitment not to comment publicly on the matters covered by the Investigation, despite these unfounded and hugely damaging allegations being discussed in detail in the media by Colin Rattigan. His actions publicly - and privately - have severely impacted progression at all levels within the British Bobsleigh programme and the wider BBSA for the past 11 months and the Board was then, and still is now, steadfast in its belief that such behaviour must never be condoned or tolerated.

While we fully support the need to investigate any allegations of wrongdoing seriously, it should be noted that this Investigation and the length of time it has taken for it to be concluded has had a substantial impact on the individual volunteer members of the Board on both a professional and personal basis - as well as an untold impact on many of their family members. Minority sport cannot function without volunteers at all levels, including at the very top of the organisation where, arguably, accountability is at its highest. This has been a particularly distressing time for the Board members, some of whom have faced serious allegations against their character as well as their competency; allegations which have been found to be unsubstantiated at all levels or dismissed in the strongest of terms.  

The BBSA recognises the Report’s recommendations - none of which relate to allegations of harassment, victimisation, bullying or discriminatory behaviour and has already enacted the majority of these.  We will continue to work to improve our organisation and provide the stability required for our athletes to succeed.

Contrary to Colin Rattigan’s public statements, the BBSA would also like to make it clear that he was not dismissed from his position as a Director for being a ‘whistle-blower’: he was dismissed because he attempted to cause deliberate harm to the organisation and to a fellow Board member - matters which post-dated the Terms of Reference and were thus outside the scope of the Investigation.  It should also be noted that there are no ongoing legal actions regarding Colin Rattigan’s dismissal, contrary to his earlier assertions.

We condemn discriminatory behaviour of any kind in the strongest terms and we now hope that we can move forward to do what the Board has always intended to do: support athletes and coaches in both sports as they continue their preparations for the season ahead and for the upcoming Olympic Winter Games in February 2022.