Former Team Sky doctor Richard Freeman to give evidence in Jess Varnish employment case

Dr Freeman is facing an investigation over a delivery of testosterone patches to British Cycling HQ

Former British Cycling and Team Sky doctor, Richard Freeman (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Former Team Sky doctor Richard Freeman is due to give evidence in Jess Varnish’s employment case against UK Sport and British Cycling.

Track sprinter Varnish has taken the sporting organisations to an employment tribunal after she was dropped from the elite programme in 2016.

The 28-year-old claims she was unfairly dismissed, with the case being heard at Manchester Employment Tribunal from Monday until December 17.

>>> Olympic sprinter Jess Varnish’s case against UK Sport could have major impact for athletes, according to lawyers

Dr Richard Freeman is one of three witnesses Varnish will call to give evidence, the BBC reports. (opens in new tab)

The former Team Sky and British Cycling doctor has been at the centre of a controversy since 2017, after it emerged testosterone patches were delivered to British Cycling HQ.

Jess Varnish
(Image credit: Andy Jones)

Last month, British Cycling was told to expect a General Medical Council tribunal involving Dr Freeman over the patches that were delivered to the National Cycling Centre in Manchester in 2011.

News of the testosterone delivery emerged in 2017, with former British Cycling head of medicine Dr Steve Peters saying package had been sent due to an “administrative error.”

But investigations by the GMC found that the patches were ordered intentionally, and that an attempt had been made to cover up the incident.

According to the GMC the supplier of the patches, Fit 4 Sports Ltd in Oldham, was asked to send an email saying the package had been sent in error.

The patches were returned to the supplier.

There is no suggestion that any riders or coaches have committed any wrongdoing.

Dr Freeman, who worked for both British Cycling and Team Sky in 2011, is the subject of a GMC inquiry focussing on his work as a medical professional after it emerged that he had not kept proper medical records during his time at Team Sky, which resulted in UKAD being unable to confirm the contents of a mysterious Jiffy bag which was delivered to the team at the 2011 Critérium du Dauphiné.

He resigned from British Cycling in October 2017 citing ill-health.

Varnish was pulled from British Cycling’s elite programme in April 2016, shortly before she publicly alleged sexual discrimination by former technical director Shane Sutton.

Sutton denied the allegations but an internal investigation upheld that he used “inappropriate and discriminatory language” towards Varnish.

The full report has not been published, but it later emerged that only one of nine complaints against Sutton was upheld.

He resigned from his post in 2016 and later took up a role with the Chinese national track squad.

If the employment tribunal rules Varnish is an employee, it will open up the possibility of pursuing a sex discrimination claim against British Cycling and UK Sport.

The case has been compared to the 1995 Bosman ruling in football, which allows players to move to a new club at the end of their contract without their former team receiving payment.

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