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Gymnastics in crisis as Max Whitlock and others refuse to sign contracts

• Rebellion by leading athletes threatens future funding
• British Gymnastics accused of creating a culture of fear

British Gymnastics is facing a crisis with its biggest stars, including the double Olympic champion Max Whitlock, refusing to sign World Class Performance Programme contracts and being threatened with having their funding withdrawn.

An internal power struggle between the performance, commercial and management teams about the content of the contract has led to a rebellion among the athletes. The Guardian understands almost all of the team which won a record seven medals at the Rio Olympics last summer have refused to sign the contract. The entire men’s artistic squad, including Whitlock who became the first Briton to defend a world title successfully last month, have refused to sign. On the women’s side, the Olympic medallist Amy Tinkler and the European champion Ellie Downie have not signed.

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