Scottish Gymnastics Association has funding withheld after probe

Image caption SGA was awarded about £1.2m in the the last financial year from Sportscotland

The Scottish Gymnastics Association (SGA) has had its government funding withheld after allegations of serious misconduct by senior management.

Sportscotland carried out an investigation into claims the SGA mishandled the dismissal cases of two members of staff.

It said the highly critical report gave it no choice but to withhold public investment from the SGA.

The SGA said it totally refuted the findings of the report.

Lynn Milne, president of the Scottish Gymnastics Association, said the allegations were "unfounded" and the findings "wholly mis-representative".

Sportscotland appointed Duncan Macniven, former registrar general for Scotland, to carry out the independent investigation.

The government body said his remit was to look into the allegations relating to the treatment of SGA staff and claims the SGA had failed to comply with the application of its internal disciplinary and child protection policies.

The SGA is the national governing body for gymnastics in Scotland and has more than 11,000 members in more than 150 clubs.

About half of its funding comes from Sportscotland, worth about £1.2m in the last financial year.

The dispute began in 2011 when an SGA employee, named as TM in the report, was accused of abusing his position when a gymnastics club he was involved in bid for a lease on a premises owned by Aberdeen college.

His bid was strongly supported by the Head of Education and Development, called JA in the document.

Gross misconduct

Following a complaint from a rival club the SGA began disciplinary procedures and TM and JA were suspended on full pay.

They were later found guilty of gross misconduct and dismissed.

Following two anonymous allegations made to the SGA, TM was also subjected to an investigation he had breached the SGA's child protection policy.

They found no substantiation.

In his findings Mr Macniven, criticised the SGA for their whole handling of the situation, not following its own disciplinary procedure and the length of the investigation.

Mr Macniven said that both JA and TM felt from the outset, SGA management was determined to find them guilty of a disciplinary offence, and due to the way the whole SGA investigation was carried out he could understand why.

He added that the SGA failed to contact Sportscotland for help as the situation worsened.

The report said the disciplinary cases were not the organisations only staffing difficulties with another dismissal and a number of others having resigned.

It questioned the effectiveness of the SGA's its HR policies and the wider morale of staff.

In a statement Sportscotland said: "The report, coupled with the persistent refusal of SGA to work in partnership with the national agency for sport, has left us with no choice but to withhold public investment from SGA.

"Sportscotland no longer has any confidence in the current leadership of the governing body, and we will not sanction any public money going to SGA until full confidence is restored in the leadership and integrity of the organisation."

'Incorrect information'

Lynn Milne, President, Scottish Gymnastics Association said: "This highly inaccurate report is an unfortunate distraction for a very successful governing body.

"It is important to state that we have always worked in partnership with Sportscotland and have a strong leadership team which has achieved independent recognition for its high governance standards.

"We advised Stewart Harris, chief executive of Sportscotland of this at the outset and on several occasions since and were initially assured that the report would not be completed until we were in a position to co-operate fully."

She added: "Despite these assurances the report was completed without our evidence, consequently, the findings were drawn from insufficient, incomplete and in some cases wholly incorrect information.

"Therefore we do not accept the findings and deem the report entirely mis-representative of the facts."

The SGA Board of Directors has announced an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) in order to update members on the current situation.

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