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British gymnastics boss to retire amid abuse allegations

Britain's Becky Downie in action at the 2019 gymnastics world championships in Stuttgart
Britain's Becky Downie in action at the 2019 gymnastics world championships in Stuttgart Lionel BONAVENTURE AFP/File
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London (AFP)

British Gymnastics chief executive Jane Allen will retire from her post in December amid growing allegations of bullying and abuse within the sport.

Allen had been under pressure to resign after being accused of presiding over an organisation that has consistently failed to address complaints.

The growing scandal reached Britain's current world-class programme in July with sisters Becky and Ellie Downie issuing a statement that described "an environment of fear and mental abuse".

Allen on Tuesday described recent developments as "extremely difficult" and pledged her continued support for the Whyte Review, a joint UK Sport and Sport England investigation established in August to address the claims.

Allen, 65, said: "The last few months have been extremely difficult, but I will look back on my time with British Gymnastics with great pride for the growth and success we have sustained over a 10-year period.

"The Whyte Review will be an important step forward for gymnastics and other sports struggling to deal effectively with these issues. It is vital that this happens in a fair and transparent manner for all parties and I pledge my support to helping the sport to do that."

Allen took up her post in 2010 after 13 years in an equivalent position with Gymnastics Australia.

She presided over an unprecedented period of success, including a record seven medals at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

But she increasingly found herself at the centre of abuse allegations both at elite and club level.

In July, Allen admitted she was "appalled and ashamed" by allegations of bullying and abuse within the domestic sport, and applauded the "bravery" of those speaking out.

Meanwhile Amanda Reddin has temporarily stepped down from her role as national coach pending a separate investigation into allegations of improprieties, which she denies.

Last month fellow national coach Colin Still was placed under investigation after Amy Tinkler released a string of emails in which he appeared to allude to the Rio 2016 bronze medallist as a "fat dwarf".

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