The International Federation of Gymnastics (FIG) has appointed Nicolas Buompane as its new secretary general and announced plans for a new ethics foundation.
Buompane was elected unanimously at the governing body’s executive committee meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland, following a proposal from FIG president Morinari Watanabe.
The Swiss will take over from André Gueisbuhler, who was reappointed last year until 31st December 2018. Gueisbuhler had served in the position since 2004, having previously worked as deputy secretary general for 13 years.
Buompane has been deputy secretary general since November 2007, and will assume his new role on 1st January 2019.
Meanwhile, the FIG also announced that it has formed an independent ‘Ethics Foundation’ as part of a project to ‘reinforce its rules and review its structure to fight abuse and all forms of misconduct in the sport’.
The foundation will be responsible for dealing with any issues relating to ethics, misconduct, aggression and other rule violations, and will contact relevant legal authorities and offer support to those affected by such incidents.
The new structure will be divided into four sections including a new security and protection group, a compliance committee, a disciplinary commission and an appeal tribunal. More details are to be finalised ahead of the next FIG congress meeting in Baku, Azerbaijan in December.
The FIG executive committee has also adopted new policies and procedures for safeguarding and protecting participants in gymnastics. The FIG said the new procedures are based on the premise that ‘every sporting organisation has a responsibility to foster a healthy and respectful environment in which athletes can develop without being harassed, assaulted or abused’.
The policies aim to provide all FIG member federations with guidelines to help them identify and respond to any instances of harassment, aggression and misconduct.
The moves come amid a sexual abuse scandal embroiling USA Gymnastics. Last month, Larry Nassar was sentenced to up to 175 years in prison after pleading guilty to seven counts of criminal sexual misconduct in the first degree during his time working as a doctor at Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics.
More than 250 people have accused him of abuse, including American Olympic athletes. Three-time Olympic gold medallist Aly Raisman, who testified against Nassar, has filed a lawsuit against the US Olympic Committee (USOC), USA Gymnastics and others, alleging that the USOC was aware that Nassar had abused athletes.
Elsewhere, the FIG also announced that a team all-around competition will be tested at this year's Trampoline World Championships in the Russian city of St Petersburg.
The event will combine individual trampoline, synchronised trampoline, double mini-trampoline and women's and men's tumbling, with the final contested between the top five nations.
Action in St Petersburg is due to take place between 7th and 10th November.