The importance of reviewing athlete contracts, following Jess Varnish’s unsuccessful appeal

Jess Varnish was a GB track cyclist until 2016 when, after not being selected for Team GB for the Rio Olympics, she made a number of complaints against GB Cycling.

This led to an independent enquiry, in which (amongst other things) various – much-publicised but hotly disputed – comments, said to have been made to her by Shane Sutton (the Technical Director at the time) were considered.

Less well known is that she brought a claim in the Employment Tribunal arguing that her relationship with GB Cycling and/or UK Sport was that of an employee or a “worker”, and that her funding from UK Sport was a wage. If she had succeeded in that claim, in the words of Counsel for GB Cycling, the implications for publicly-funded elite athletes would have been akin to “the skies falling in”, as the additional costs would have significantly reduced the number of athletes who could benefit from such funding.

Read the full article here.

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