Triathlon board resigns over athlete harassment, abuse allegations
The entire board of the Dutch triathlon association NTB resigned due to a report by research agency Fijbes about border-crossing behavior at the national training center (NTC).
The researchers concluded that there is insufficient social safety within the NTB's top sports program. The report mentioned group formation, exclusion, gossip, and bullying. The researchers' advice is to intervene in the short term to increase social safety. They made 13 recommendations for doing so.
"The board of the NTB wants to make way for a new board that can enter a new phase in confidence and without being bothered by the past," said the departing directors.
In April, at the insistence of several top athletes and the Safe Sport Center Netherlands, the triathlon association decided to conduct an independent investigation. The athletes indicated that the NTB had repeatedly ignored signals from athletes. Last month several triathletes told their story in Trouw.
"The NTB wants to emphasize that there is no place within the NTC for transgressive behavior of any kind and that the current situation is, therefore, unacceptable," said the triathlon association. "The NTB is grateful for the courage of the athletes who participated in the investigation and will do everything it can to provide a socially safe environment as soon as possible in which top athletes can enjoy themselves in all respects."
Director Rita van Driel was appointed as an independent social safety adviser on an interim basis. She will work with the 13 recommendations from the report to initiate culture change in social safety. The NTB also plans to start a follow-up investigation into past abuses in the short term.
"In the interest of top sport, the board is now making room for a new board that is not hindered by the past and can go into the future with new confidence and a fresh outlook," said Wim van Oijen, the departing chairman of the board. "Recently, work was done on a plan of approach that director Rembert Groenman will further develop and implement together with a new board."
Reporting by ANP