GYMNASTICS: Louis Smith banned for two months over video where he appears to mock Islam

Louis Smith.
Louis Smith.

Louis Smith has been suspended for two months by British Gymnastics after appearing to mock Islam in a video which appeared online last month.

The Olympic silver medallist from Eye was found guilty of a breach of the organisation’s Standards of Conduct by an independent panel while his friend, former gymnast Luke Carson, was issued a reprimand.

Smith has since apologised for the footage, which shows him pretending to pray to Allah while laughing, and revealed he has received a number of death threats.

In a statement British Gymnastics said: “Louis Smith admitted his behaviour was a breach of the Standards of Conduct.

“The Panel upheld the allegation and taking into account a previous breach of the Standards of Conduct heard in June this year (where it also was made clear to Louis the consequences of any further breach), the Panel determined a cumulative penalty was appropriate and ordered a two-month period of suspension.

“During Luke Carson’s hearing, he admitted his behaviour was a breach of the rules as alleged. The Panel upheld the allegation and having taken into account that there have been no previous incidents, issued a reprimand that will remain on Luke’s record for two years.”

The short ban is unlikely to affect Smith from a competition standpoint, with the 27-year-old having indicated he will take some time out from the sport after finishing second to team-mate Max Whitlock in the men’s pommel final in Rio.

No British team camps are scheduled before the end of the year and the only domestic event from which he is effectively excluded is the British Club Team Championships in Basildon in December.

Of more concern to Smith will be the lasting damage to his reputation and that of his sport, with the British team basking in the glow of its success in Brazil where it claimed seven Olympic medals.

British Gymnastics chief executive Jane Allen said: “It is regrettable that following a historic summer of achievement, the organisation finds itself in this difficult position with two high-profile members in breach of our standards of conduct.

“As the custodians of the integrity and values of the sport, we have had no choice but to act responsibly and refer this case to an independent panel for their review and determination.

“Whilst both individuals showed remorse following the incident, we hope in the future they use their profile to have a positive impact on sport and communities.”

Smith missed Great Britain’s victory parades in Manchester and London as a result of the controversy and has accepted offers to learn more about the Muslim faith after admitting he had been “ignorant to people’s religion”.