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Swimming Canada – OTTAWA – A Swimming Canada disciplinary tribunal has suspended coach Matt Bell of Ajax, Ont., for life.

Swimming Canada took immediate action against Bell on Nov. 11, 2015, when informed of criminal charges of sexual assault, sexual exploitation and four counts of luring a person under 18 years. The former High Performance Coach and CEO of Ajax Swimming was suspended indefinitely.

Bell was sentenced on Nov. 7, 2016 to seven months in jail, which includes the addition of his name to the national sex offender registry, and a subsequent two years probation.

Swimming Canada CEO Ahmed El-Awadi then filed a formal complaint under the organization’s Harassment Policy. Due the nature and severity of the infraction (in part as evidenced by the criminal convictions) Bell will be suspended from all Swimming Canada activities for life, effective immediately. 

“Swimming Canada is satisfied with the outcome of this independent panel,” El-Awadi said. “We respect the decision and it sends a message that our policy is zero tolerance of sexual assault and harassment.”

Due to the incident being harassment, and in the interest of protecting any victim, Swimming Canada will keep all other information relating to this case (and obtained during this process) confidential.

“We will continue to do everything in our power to ensure every individual can pursue his or her potential in a safe environment,” El-Awadi added.

 Nathan White

Senior manager, Communications, Swimming Canada

Gestionnaire supérieur des communications, Natation Canada 

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