A COUNTY Durham sports club faces being dropped by its governing body after an investigation into “troubling” complaints about how it has been ran.

Numerous members of Chester le Street Amateur Rowing Club made complaints about the club to British Rowing.

And an independent panel that investigated the complaints found that the small amateur club had displayed problems both to its own members and the outside world for too long.

A probe was launched after various complaints about the club’s governance and administration were made to British Rowing.

An independent panel (IP) looked at issues that had arisen, including complaints by current or former club members received between summer 2020 and October 31, that year.

Its report was sent to British Rowing’s board in November 2021.

The board considered the report and has now described the findings as “troubling”.

It has accepted a series of recommendations by the panel about how the issues should be resolved which include seeking positive action by the club.

The panel also recommended that the club is disaffiliated from British Rowing, adding it was "mindful of the impact of disaffiliation and does not make that recommendation lightly".

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It suggested such a move is suspended until April 30, 2022 in order to give the club time to consider the report and to take action to remedy the deficiencies in its governance and administration that have been identified over the course of the investigation.

Other steps should include appointing a welfare officer and then attending a safeguarding course such as that organised by child welfare charity the NSPCC, if they do not already have relevant skills and experience.

A welfare and safeguarding policy in accordance with the model used by British Rowing should be published on the club’s website.

Committee members, who are not also trustees, should be appointed for day to day running of the club.

And the club has also been told it should publish the minutes of trustee and committee meetings online within seven days of meetings being held.

"For too long now, the club has displayed problems both to its own members and to the outside world"

In its report the independent panel said: “The IP is mindful of the impact of disaffiliation and does not make that recommendation lightly but, for too long now, the club has displayed problems both to its own members and to the outside world.

“When confronted with these problems, the club has taken a negative stance instead of engaging with the issues raised.”

The Trustees of Chester-le-Street Amateur Rowing Club told The Northern Echo: “The club is taking advice on how best to implement the recommendations that have been made following the investigation.”

British Rowing has said it will continue to liaise with the club to monitor its progress.

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