The United States Olympic Committee said it had begun moves to disband the country’s governing body for gymnastics in the aftermath of the sport’s devastating sexual abuse scandal, a statement said.

USOC chief executive Sarah Hirshland on Monday said in a statement Olympic chiefs had started proceedings to revoke USA Gymnastics’ status as the official governing body for the sport in the United States.

In an open letter addressed to US gymnasts, Hirshland said USA Gymnastics had failed to “change its culture, to rebuild its leadership, and to effectively serve its membership.”

“You deserve better,” Hirshland told gymnasts in the letter.

The USOC bombshell comes after a series of humiliating body blows to USA Gymnastics, which has lurched from one self-inflicted crisis to the next as it struggles to rebuild in the aftermath of the Larry Nassar sexual abuse scandal .

Former US team doctor Nassar was jailed for life earlier this year after abusing more than 250 athletes, including several stars of the United States’ gold medal-winning teams at the 2012 and 2016 Olympics.

The beleaguered governing body, which had been accused of covering up Nassar’s crimes, has been in a state of perpetual crisis ever since the scandal broke.

Last month, newly installed chief executive Mary Bono resigned after just four days following an outcry by Olympic stars Simone Biles and Alexandra Raisman.

Bono had taken over from chief executive Kerry Perry, who had resigned after just nine months after criticism of her performance by USOC.

Perry’s departure came after the appointment and swift resignation of elite coach Mary Lee Tracy -- who had made comments supportive of Nassar in 2016 when allegations of abuse against him had begun to emerge.

USOC had warned it was prepared to take the ultimate sanction of revoking USA Gymnastics’ status as a governing body unless it put its house in order.

On Monday, Hirshland said USOC had taken its decision after lengthy deliberation.

“This is a situation in which there are no perfect solutions,” Hirshland said in a statement.

“Seeking to revoke recognition is not a conclusion that we have come to easily.

“In the short-term, we have to work to ensure that USAG gymnasts have the support necessary to excel on and off the field of play.

“We are building plans to do just that. In the long-term, it will be the critically important responsibility of the recognized Gymnastics NGB, whether the existing organization or a new one, to lead gymnastics in the United States and build on the supportive community of athletes and clubs that can carry the sport forward for decades to come.

“We are prepared to identify and help build such an organization.”