The Australian Olympic Committee has commended a report released today reviewing the country’s sports integrity arrangements ©AIS

The Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) has commended a report released today reviewing the country’s sports integrity arrangements.

The report forms part of the Government’s long-term strategic plan for the delivery of sport in Australia.

It was compiled by James Wood Queen's Consul together with David Howman, former director general of the World Anti-Doping Agency, and Ray Murrihy, the ex-chief steward of Racing New South Wales.

AOC President John Coates, also the head of the International Council of Arbitration for Sport and the Court of Arbitration for Sport, described the integrity review and recommendations as "timely and the most comprehensive national response of its kind I’ve read".

"I support all of the recommendations for a national policy on match-fixing; formulation of Commonwealth criminal offences; regulation of and administration of an Australian Sports Wagering Scheme; and information sharing and intelligence collection," he said.

"Australia should become a party to the Council of Europe Convention on the Manipulation of Sports Competition. 

"The threats to the integrity of sport are transnational and Australia can no longer sit on the sidelines. 

"We must be part of the global response.

"As for anti-doping rule violation matters, the AOC fully supports the establishment of a national sports tribunal and generally on the basis proposed."

Coates claimed he is particularly pleased that the legislation establishing the tribunal will include "the power to order a witness to appear before it to give evidence, and/or to produce documents or things; and the power to inform itself independent of submission by the parties".

"The AOC has long argued for this legislative support to the fight against doping in sport and, having repeatedly been knocked back, introduced similar requirements in its anti-doping policy - making it a condition for member national federations nominating athletes for selection in Australian Olympic teams that they must include these requirements in their anti-doping policies," he added. 

"So very much better that this be by statute rather than relying on contractual arrangements.

"As for the other aspects of Minister Bridget McKenzie’s national sports plan, the AOC is firmly on the same page on the desirability of building a more active Australia and will continue to fund our own participation, health and well-being programmes in cooperation with the Australian and State Governments’ sports, indigenous and education departments.

"The AOC agrees that the provision of opportunities and pathways must be the focus to enable athletes to compete on the world stage, including supporting them not only during but after their careers."

AOC President John Coates described the integrity review and recommendations as timely ©Getty Images
AOC President John Coates described the integrity review and recommendations as timely ©Getty Images

coates added: "The financial adequacy of the Australian Sports Commission and Institute of Sport’s (AIS) support to State Institutes, National Federations and their athletes will determine how well they can compete. 

"I note the plan is silent in this regard.

"I expect there will be a diversity of opinion among national federations on the Government’s proposals for the evolution of the AIS. 

"I am not a supporter but hope I am wrong and the new AIS can achieve the outcomes we all want for Australian sport."

AOC chief executive Matt Carroll attended the Minister’s address at the National Press Club of Australia today.

He welcomed the Minister’s broad commitments to building a more active Australia through participation in sport, particularly the commitment to ensuring a diversity of sports in Australia.

"The Minister’s acknowledgement of the importance of collaboration with independent organisations such as the AOC echoes our submission to the sports plan," Carroll said.  

"There is a unique and well-placed family of Olympic sports that can contribute enormously to the Government’s objectives.

"We support the plan’s insight that success in high-performance sport is correlated to investment.

"This investment is not just about medals but outcomes that inspire young Australians to take up sport and be the best they can.

"An appropriately funded high-performance and participation environment will return the dividend the Government is seeking.

"As the plan acknowledges, sport is part of the fabric of our communities.

"To ensure diversity of sports continues, Government investment at all levels is essential in both grassroots participation and the pathways to performance.

"Each supporting the other in the virtuous circle for Australian sport to achieve the success Australians expect."

To read the full report click here.