'Victims of gymnastics abuse must receive an allowance of 5,000 euros'

At the request of NOC NSF, the committee considered this recommendation from ‘Uneven layers’, the report published at the end of April in which the results of the research into transgressive behavior in gymnastics are recorded. On Monday, the sports umbrella organization and the Dutch gymnastics union (KNGU) will provide an explanation of the advice, which has not yet been released but is in the possession of this newspaper. NOC NSF and the KNGU intend to follow the council, with the sports umbrella providing financial assistance if the gymnastics association does not have sufficient reserves.

The advice expressly states that it is not compensation, but ‘compensation’. “For us, a financial arrangement is a helping hand,” the committee writes. “A clear acknowledgment of what has been done to the ex-gymnasts, of mistakes that have been made and above all of a wrong system in itself.”

No difference

For this reason, the Committee states that it did not wish to make a monetary distinction. “There is no hierarchy of suffering, no way of saying that what happened to one person is less bad than another. We want the sports world to look everyone in the eye at the same time and make the same gesture for everyone.”

Athletes who participated in the highest national and international competitions (including youth competitions) are in principle eligible for the benefit. From a very early age they were subjected to a weekly training load of (more than) thirty hours. The committee does advocate ‘generosity’, wants to see a ‘hardship clause’ built in for other distressing cases and insists on a ‘quick settlement’.

‘Explicit apologies’

In addition to the advice, the committee informs the KNGU and NOC NSF that victims need ‘explicit apologies’. Both the KNGU and NOC NSF are asked to name ‘where they have failed’.

The importance of customization in aftercare is also emphasized. “The relatively older athletes have had to struggle for a long time, until today, with what happened to them. Traumas are processed very differently and that should be the starting point for help and aftercare.”

An interview with former women’s national coach Gerrit Betman at the end of July last year in this newspaper opened the cesspool. He admitted to assaulting, intimidating, isolating, ignoring and manipulating gymnasts. On the same day, ten (former) gymnasts spoke in detail about the reign of terror of him and other trainers.

The confession and testimonies led, among other things, to the now resigned women’s national coach Gerben Wiersma and national coach Vincent Wevers being temporarily suspended, the top sports program being suspended, an independent investigation into the abuses being initiated, a round table discussion in the House of Representatives about cross-border activities. behavior in gymnastics and the Institute for Sports Jurisdiction looked into complaints about abuse of power by 25 trainers.

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