British Gymnasts Refusing To Sign World Class Performance Programme Contracts
British Gymnastics is "facing a crisis with its biggest stars," including double Olympic champion Max Whitlock, "refusing to sign World Class Performance Programme contracts and being threatened with having their funding withdrawn," according to Martha Kelner of the London GUARDIAN. An "internal power struggle" between the performance, commercial and management teams about the content of the contract has led to a "rebellion among the athletes." It is understood "almost all of the team" which won a record seven medals at the Rio 2016 Olympics "have refused to sign the contract." The entire men's artistic squad, including Whitlock, who became the first Briton to defend a world title successfully last month, has refused to sign. On the women's side, Olympic medalist Amy Tinkler and European champion Ellie Downie have not signed. British Gymnastics said in a statement that it was currently "involved in consultation" with the athletes regarding the agreements. It added, "To date, over 50% of the athletes on our World Class Performance Programme have already signed the agreement." One insider described the situation as "complete chaos, evidence of weak leadership and British Gymnastics' need for complete control over the athletes" (GUARDIAN, 11/12).