Swiss gymnastics federation called out for ‘problematic culture’

Reports about abuses in the sports of gymnastics in several countries have emerged in recent years. Keystone/Kerim Okten

The world governing body for the sport of gymnastics has blamed the power structure and culture for alleged abuses in Switzerland’s gymnastics federation.

This content was published on February 8, 2021 - 14:52

“There is a problematic culture which has established itself over the decades,” says Micheline Calmy-Rey, president of the Gymnastics Ethics Foundation (GEF).External link

“It is a system that clearly shows the power imbalance and dependencies that exist. Not everywhere, but too often,” Calmy-Rey told Swiss public radio SRF.

The former Swiss foreign minister and president of the Swiss-based GEF said she is shocked by the reported abuses but not surprised.

She said the complaints committee has so far treated about 50 individual cases in Switzerland, involving physical harassment, verbal attacks, bullying and indifference.

Calmy-Rey said it is the responsibility of the national gymnastics federation to act.

“These changes are difficult because it is a cultural issue,” she said. “I think this culture is linked to the world of gymnastics than to a country or a region in particular.”

The latest statements echo previous comments by Calmy-ReyExternal link last July about similar accusations in Britain and elsewhere in the world.

In November, the Swiss sports ministry called for an investigation into alleged abusive training methods for gymnasts. Parliament wants the government to set up a national reporting office for victims of abuse.

Comments under this article have been turned off. You can find an overview of ongoing debates with our journalists here. Please join us!

If you want to start a conversation about a topic raised in this article or want to report factual errors, email us at

Share this story

Join the conversation!

With a SWI account, you have the opportunity to contribute on our website.

You can Login or register here.