Bradley Wiggins backs NSPCC campaign for safer sports environments for children

Former Tour de France champion has spoken about abuse he received from a coach before

Bradley Wiggins
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Bradley Wiggins has joined a campaign aiming to protect children in sport, launched by the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) this week.

The former Tour de France champion has previously spoken about being groomed by a coach when he was younger, and has joined the NSPCC's Keeping Your Child Safe in Sport Week initiative.

In a press release, Wiggins said: "We must make sport safe for children and make it easier for parents - and all people in sport - to recognise and understand how they themselves can support a safer sports environment."

The child protection charity said that the number of adults contacting a helpline about children in sport has almost doubled in the last five years.

A survey of 1,000 parents had shown that 15% of respondents did not feel confident they could spot the signs of their child suffering abuse at their local sports club.

The number of calls to the NSPCC's helpline in which the locations of concern were a sports setting increased from 155 to 301 between 2017 and 2022.

The charity has released a set of resources to help ensure children are safe in sport settings, and are urging people to use the hashtag #safeinsport on social media.

The press release from the NSPCC said: "It's important to look for a sports club, group or activity that takes the safety and wellbeing of your child seriously. Always check if the club or organisation is accredited or affiliated to a body (e.g. a sports governing body), as this should mean they have the right safeguarding policies and procedures in place."

Earlier this year, Wiggins alleged that he was groomed by a coach when he was a 13-year-old, saying that he had "buried" it, as he had no one to tell as a teenager.

In an interview with Mens Health UK in April, the former Tour de France winner said: "I was groomed by a coach when I was younger – I was about 13 – and I never fully accepted that.”

He confirmed that this was sexual grooming, adding: “It all impacted me as an adult… I buried it."

Wiggins said that he could not tell his stepfather, due to a violent relationship and the criticism he received for just wearing cycling clothing.

He had spoken before about his mental health problems; the former Team Sky rider suffers from depression, but never his allegations of grooming.

The NSPCC's Keeping Your Child Safe in Sport Week campaign runs this week.

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