Top magistrate to examine abuse allegations in national volleyball team

Flemish sports minister Ben Weyts (nationalist) has asked a top magistrate to examine the complaints about the working and coaching of Belgium’s women’s national volleyball team.  Earlier several former members of the Yellow Tigers – as the national women’s volleyball team is called – spoke of their unhappy experiences with coach Gert Vande Broek.

As a neutral figure, leading magistrate Bart Meganck will look into the allegations and the exact circumstances at the squad.  Earlier he headed the ethical commission that investigated goings on in gymnastics.

Sports minister Weyts hopes the investigation will result in a calming of the tensions.  “Several parties have taken clear positions” he said. “A neutral authority must now attempt to clarify the situation and make recommendations, if these are required”.

“The allegations are of a different scope to the accounts of unacceptable behaviour in gymnastics and no minors were involved, but they have triggered considerable emotions”.

Speaking on VRT TV volleyball international Hélène Rousseaux and two of her colleagues spoke of the impact coaching had on their mental health and looked back at their success at the European championships in 2013 with mixed feelings: “I had to force myself to enjoy the European medal” Hélène said. Valérie Courtois added: “The coaching often came with negative sentiments”, while Freya Aelbrecht said: “The picture everybody has of the Yellow Tigers is a wrong one”.

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