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British Cycling statement on the Dr. Freeman tribunal

British Cycling statement on the Dr. Freeman tribunal

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Published: 12 March 2021

British Cycling CEO, Brian Facer, said:

“I thank the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service panel for the time and efforts they have made to reach this decision. As a co-referrer in this case, British Cycling believes it was in the public interest and in the best interests of our sport that the allegations against Dr Richard Freeman were heard and examined openly by the MPTS.

“The verdict of the panel confirms British Cycling’s own findings that he had failed in his duties as a doctor and supports our decision to refer him to the GMC for further investigation. 

“The finding that the 2011 delivery of testosterone gel was intended for the illegal enhancement of a rider’s performance is extremely disturbing. We leave any further action in respect of this to UK Anti-Doping, whose work will have our wholehearted support. 

“The wider actions of Dr Freeman described in the tribunal fall a mile short of the standards we expect. Since suspending Dr Freeman from his employment by British Cycling four years ago, we have made substantial changes to the way we provide medical services to riders competing for Great Britain, amid much wider improvements to our governance which we believe now put us at the forefront of our sector. These measures include:

  • The achievement of CQC status, meaning the Great Britain Cycling Team medical team are held to the same standards as hospitals – with regular audits of their work, similar to an OFSTED inspection
  • A Clinical Governance Committee which oversees the Great Britain Cycling Team’s medical team and reports to the British Cycling Board  
  • A new Code of Conduct for all medical and performance support staff 
  • An audited medical record-keeping and medicines management policy
  • A new concussion protocol; now widely adopted by our fellow national federations
  • The establishment of an Integrity Committee, accountable to the board, to oversee all ethical issues relating to British Cycling's work, including anti-doping, compliance and safeguarding
  • Cardiac screening protocols in a research partnership with Liverpool John Moores University; and
  • A new Mental Health and Wellbeing strategy to include better education and early intervention for academy riders entering the programme.

“This is a day for sober reflection and we know that will be felt by the thousands of people who race their bikes in this country and love our sport, from the Great Britain Cycling Team to the grassroots. We also know that they will share our view that all those who work in our sport must adhere to the highest standards of ethical behaviour.”