One Sport Review Slams Athletics Australia

Image of David Grace:

Chair of the ‘One Sport’ review (former Australian cricket coach) John Buchanan has slammed Athletics Australia for its lack of accountability, transparency, and woeful organisational culture.

The admonition comes in the wake of a scathing report. It urges the Australian Sports Commission to reduce funding to AA by a whopping 40 per cent, unless far-reaching and immediate changes are made.

The failures and embarrassments of last year’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow prompted the investigation.

Among these were: The very pubic slanging match between head coach Eric Hollingsworth and hurdler Sally Pearson, the underachievement of all athletes, and the very ill-kept secret of poor team morale.

Buchanan’s investigative panel included former sprint champion Melinda Gainsford-Taylor, Lynne Williams, Mark Bartels, and Matt Favier. Together they submitted a 60-page document outlining 16 key recommendations.

Among the recommendations are the removal of at least two of the current board members and the very close scrutiny of current president David Grace.

Stakeholders like little Athletics needed to be given more inclusion and a greater say in nationwide athletic activities.

The report calls for an oversight committee constituted by representatives of the ASC, AA, and Australian Institute of Sport. This committee would be expected to meet monthly and monitor the pace of the other reforms.

The Athletics Australia board has been given six months in which to get its affairs in order.

An 18 month timeframe has been given in which to make the proposed changes.

Exceeding this timeframe will result in crucial funding being withheld. Athletics Australia is currently without a major sponsor and so relies wholly on the Sport Commission’s $7.8 million (2013/14) to survive.

John Buchanan pulled no punches: “All we can say is if they continue to do what they are doing, they’re going to continue to get what they get.

“If they continue to do that, we have made it pretty clear, and the Sports Commission support this, that their funding is going to be reduced.

“I think that is reasonable to expect of any business. If you continue what you’re doing and having a culture that has been quite fragmented for a period of time then why should people invest in you? It’s as simple as that.”

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