On 25 January 2019 the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) published the report of an independent inquiry into events at Wrexham Tennis Centre (WTC). The LTA Board had commissioned the inquiry in December 2017 after WTC’s former Head Coach Daniel Sanders was convicted of sexual offences committed against a child he had been coaching.
The overriding objective of the independent review – as set out in its terms of reference – had been to ensure that any failings of the LTA were brought to light in order for lessons to be learned and to ensure those failings were not repeated. With that objective in mind, the findings made in the report are wide-ranging and emphatic. In short, the independent panel (chaired by barrister Christopher Quinlan QC) found that there had been a series of safeguarding failings over the six-year period covered by the review.
In light of these findings, the report makes recommendations for each of the LTA, WTC and Tennis Wales to improve their safeguarding arrangements. It also acknowledges, however, that the LTA has recently implemented safeguarding changes; the report expresses confidence that, as a result of those changes, if Mr Saunders’ 2012 case arose today it would be handled differently and more effectively.
The article highlights the pertinent features of the report, summarises its recommendations and assesses its wider importance for the sporting community.