British Canoeing introduces Elite Athlete Welfare Programme

1. Protection of athletes from a ‘no compromise' mentality that regards them only as short term medal prospects.

By Ivan Lawler, President British Canoeing

At the AGM on the 25th March 2017 the board and members of British Canoeing accepted this motion to establish an Elite Athlete Welfare Programme that will signify their whole-hearted commitment to enlightened sporting success. The British Canoeing Elite Athlete Welfare Programme will report annually to the board and include:

  1. protection of athletes from a ‘no compromise’ mentality that regards them only as short term medal prospects
  2. experienced world-class coaching with a record of accomplishment and continuous assessment – how can athletes be required to give up life chances and commit to a programme without this
  3. world-class management with commitment and dedication equal to that of the athletes
  4. a shift of emphasis from staff employment-security to athlete protection from coaches and management with tenure of position, without review – staff that DO perform should be protected from unfair discrimination
  5. preparation of athletes for life after elite sport by supporting their individual education and career development alongside their athlete career
  6. performance staff, with their own education and career secured, must work with our athletes to secure the same life-long opportunities for them, alongside their sport
  7. assistance with whole-life planning and career settlement following an elite athlete career
  8. Ivan Lawler is the President of British Canoeing, member of the World Paddle Awards Academy, owner of Ultimate Kayaks and a former Olympian. He was also awarded the highest UNESCO sporting honour; ‘The Pierre de Coubertin Award for Act of Fair Play’.

    personal and respectful management of de-selection and routine immediate access to support and mediation if required

  9. a full programme of support with recovery and train-down after injury or retirement
  10. robust protection from discrimination and unfair practices
  11. representation of recent and current athletes in the development and management of the Performance Department programme
  12. elite athlete representation to the board
  13. constant oversight of the management of the Performance Department that is informed, robust, professional, helpful, and appropriately critical
  14. a genuine sense of a world-class team with the staff and athletes pulling together and a complete move away from a culture of fear and coercion
  15. recognition that adult athletes do not receive a living wage and remain dependent on their parents or other support – include and acknowledge such stake-holders wherever possible
  16. inclusion of the parents and club coaches of junior elite athletes at all times and acknowledgement of their role as part of the team in the success of a junior athlete
  17. an appeal process that is accessible, fair, transparent, and not damaging to future selection or participation
  18. challenge of external pressures, even from government or funding bodies, if they do not support our policy for Elite Athlete Welfare
  19. an Athlete Performance Award framework that gives clarity and greater certainty of income
  20. access to genuinely independent safeguarding review and support
  21. selection processes that are simple, clear, fair, and transparent – built WITH the athletes that must achieve them.
  22. a review of the current single location policy for all athletes, especially in the light of the football and cycling revelations, where isolation from friends and families made young athletes vulnerable. What assessment has been done to show this policy will lead to best results for individual athletes?
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