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03 Jun 2022

The new Code of Conduct sets standards for positive change in Gymnastics

The International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) has introduced a new Code of Conduct aimed at promoting a positive culture based on fundamental principles of integrity, respect, honesty and fairness in the sport of Gymnastics.

This new version of the Code outlines the standards of behaviour expected of all those involved in Gymnastics, and helps to draw a clear line between what is considered good practice and what is not tolerable.

The Code lists general principles of integrity and respect to which everybody who takes part in Gymnastics must commit, and also specific principles for athletes, coaches, judges, officials and the managers of Gymnastics federations.

Its scope of application has also been broadened compared with the previous Code, to encompass all aspects of training, competition, sporting operations and communication.

FIG President Morinari Watanabe says of the new Code: “We cannot change years of bad practice in the sport overnight. While in some parts of the world, new generations of practitioners, coaches and executives developed approaches based on respect and wellbeing, abusive training methods still prevail in some places, with the strong conviction that it is part of the path to success. That cannot prevent us as the governing body from setting up standards applicable everywhere, and by so doing, reminding everyone that they have rights, duties and responsibilities.”

Clear rules for the Gymnastics community

Since 2018, the FIG has been strengthening its rules and policies regarding youth protection, and fighting against abuse of all kinds. The biggest step was made in 2019 with the establishment of the Gymnastics Ethics Foundation, one section of which is dedicated to safeguarding.

At the same time, the FIG has been working on an overhaul of its main rules in order to set up a simpler and more relevant legal framework suiting the needs and expectations of the Gymnastics community.

This legal framework is mainly made of:

  • the FIG Statutes, which are the “Constitution” of the Gymnastics governing body
  • the Code of Ethics, which sets the core ethical values
  • the Code of Conduct, which sets restricted or forbidden behaviours based on these ethical values
  • the Code of Discipline, which defines proceedings in case of infringement and refers to the sanctions set in the Statutes.

Having clear rules regarding behaviours was one of two commitments made by the FIG at the conclusion of the e-conference on safeguarding held in October 2020.

The revision of the Code of Conduct was primarily conducted by members of the Gymnastics community, and especially the 15 athletes – active and retired – who comprise the FIG Safeguarding Working Group.

The Executive Committee approved the final document last week. It comes into force immediately.