In 2004, it was identified that there was a need for an independent body within British sport, to both represent the views of all British athletes and to ensure that athlete welfare and wellbeing was central to all decision-making in high-performance sport.
Established by athletes and for athletes, the ‘British Athletes Commission’ was formed.
The organisation provided a mechanism for British athletes to access independent support across a range of issues, and to help athletes set up and maintain athlete representative structures within their sport.
While this early part of the BEAA’s history coincided with success on the medal tables for Great Britain’s Olympians and Paralympians, the issue of athlete welfare in sport – and its relative prioritisation alongside medal success – came to the fore again in 2016, as allegations of cultural mismanagement across a number of sports came to light.
Following a UK Sport independent review into athlete voice and representation across the system, greater investment was put into the BEAA, which was identified as a key organisation in helping British sport to win ‘the right way’.
This increased funding enabled the organisation to grow in size, handle larger levels of case work and play an increasingly significant role in the high-performance system.
When allegations of abuse and mistreatment within British gymnastics began to surface in 2020, it was the BEAA (still then called the BAC) which stepped in, to both campaign for an independent review, and – funded by UK Sport and Sport England – establish a thorough and comprehensive mechanism through which those affected by mistreatment could share their experience and access appropriate support.
This work was highlighted in the Whyte Review – the independent review commissioned to investigate the allegations – which made a number of recommendations regarding necessary changes to sporting culture in this country.
You can read our latest Annual Review (2021) here.
You can read the latest news regarding the BEAA here.
“I know from experience the determination which exists within the BEAA to make positive change happen. It’s exciting to see the organisation develop in a way which will further benefit British athletes.”