A FORMER head coach at Wyre Forest Swimming Club has been suspended from coaching by the sport's national body after welfare concerns were raised.

Former international swimmer Alan Bircher, who is now director of the Ellesmere College Titans swimming club in Shropshire, was suspended by Swim England after parents of clubs members highlighted issues within the club.

Swim England launched an immediate review which backed up parental claims.

A spokesperson for the national governing body said the review into welfare concerns at Titans led to recommendations that Mr Bircher would not be included as part Team GB's swimming coaching team.

In a joint statement, Swim England and British Swimming said: "Swim England was extremely concerned to receive notification of welfare issues from parents of swimmers in Ellesmere College Titans Swimming Club and on receipt of these notifications instigated a thorough independent review, which was conducted in partnership with the relevant Statutory Agency and the Local Authority Designated Officer.

"The report identified welfare and governance issues and immediately the review was concluded, Swim England implemented all the recommendations in the report to ensure a safe, supportive and positive environment for everyone in the club.

"This involved a complete change of the governance structure of the club and Swim England Officers working alongside members to put in place a revised structure and procedures. An independent welfare officer is supporting the club and as some of the programme coaches are currently suspended, coaching support has been secured for the programme, overseen by an experienced Swim England Talent Coach.

"Swim England will remain working with the club until such time as we are content our robust safeguarding and welfare procedures and policies are embedded within the governance of the club.

"The suspended coaching staff will not return to the programme until such time as all conditions set out in the report have been met to the satisfaction of Swim England.

"The welfare and safety of all of Swim England’s members and British Swimming’s athletes is of paramount importance and we continue to prioritise our duty of care to all within our sport.

"British Swimming is supportive of the action taken by Swim England and, as a consequence of the review, coach Alan Bircher was not nominated to the Tokyo Olympic coaching team for 2021 and will not be part of the team at the Games."

Mr Bircher, aged 39, was head coach at Wyre Forest Swimming Club for two years - from 2010 to 2012.