Saturday, 12 June 2021

Rowing club captain banned after probe

THE captain of Henley Rowing Club has been banned from coaching for 18 months after an

THE captain of Henley Rowing Club has been banned from coaching for 18 months after an investigation into bullying and favouritism in crew selection.

British Rowing upheld five complaints against David Lister, which were:

• Displaying favouritism to certain rowers to the detriment/exclusion of others

• Failing to maintain appropriate boundaries in his role as a coach with a junior rower

• Behaving in a derogatory, negative or inappropriate manner towards some rowers by making inappropriate comments

• Failing to adhere to safeguarding practices and to act upon advice given by the club’s welfare officer

• Failing to adhere to information sharing and confidentiality processes in accordance with British Rowing requirements.

The investigation, which was carried out by dispute resolution service Sport Resolution, dismissed two further allegations of adopting unfair selection procedures and harsh and inappropriate training methods for junior rowers. None of the allegations involved sexual misconduct.

Mr Lister will not be allowed to coach children and vulnerable adults until his ban expires. He has decided not to appeal the decision.

The ban comes a month after club president John Friend was banned from the sport for a year after failing to investigate the claims of “inappropriate behaviour” towards junior girls.

Chairman Jeff Morgan was also investigated and ordered to undergo safeguarding training but escaped a ban.

Mr Lister voluntarily stepped down from duties at the club on April 15 last year, when the investigation was announced, as did Mr Friend and Mr Morgan. His ban runs from that date until October 31 this year. Once it is complete, Mr Lister will have to undergo safeguarding training and mentoring until British Rowing’s case management group decides he can return to coaching. During the ban he will still be free to coach “non-vulnerable” adults.

In a statement, British Rowing said it was “extremely disappointed” with Mr Lister’s conduct and that the safeguarding of children was of “paramount importance”.

The statement said: “It is essential that acts which compromise the safety and welfare of children are prevented and that coaches, who have a responsibility to deal with child safeguarding concerns, do so in line with British Rowing guidance and adhere to the British Rowing code of conduct.

“British Rowing has taken the decision to make public this case because it is important to remind those within the sport that there is a very clear obligation for club officials to take responsibility for child  safeguarding.

“The safety and welfare of a child must be the most important factor and should be reflected in the conduct of adults in contact with children at all times.” In a separate statement, Henley Rowing Club said it “fully and unequivocally” supported the message from British Rowing and had carried out its own review of practices at the club.

The statement continued: “Henley Rowing Club has been in existence for more than 175 years and has enjoyed a long-standing record of success and a proud position both within the local community and the world of rowing.

“More than 25 years ago, we were one of the first open rowing clubs to promote rowing for junior women.

“Since then, we have had an unrivalled record of success in this sector of the sport, with an excellent record on child safeguarding.

“Our squad coaches, all of whom are volunteers, work tirelessly to provide a supportive environment to allow the athletes to develop at their own speed and to fulfil their potential.

“We constantly seek ways to improve our already high standards and remain committed to developing young rowing talent.”

More News:

POLL: Have your say