Kitty Chiller has been given the support of the AOC after being sanctioned by FIG ©Getty Images

The Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) has given its support to Executive member Kitty Chiller despite being sanctioned by the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) for her role in "judging irregularities" at a qualification event for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

She was found to have given a false statement during an investigation and was subsequently punished by the Gymnastics Ethics Foundation (GEF).

The controversy surrounded a complaint filed at the Oceania Continental Championships for Rhythmic Gymnastics, an Olympic qualifying event, in May 2021.

"The Continental Championships were conducted in extremely difficult circumstances due to significant COVID restrictions at that time," said an AOC spokesperson.

"The AOC is grateful that Gymnastics Australia stepped in to conduct a Continental Championship to ensure Australian athletes had the opportunity to qualify for the Tokyo Games - otherwise, quota places would have been lost to Australian athletes.

"Kitty Chiller will continue to play a role as a highly valued member of the AOC Executive."

The details of the incident have now been made public following Chiller's decision to withdraw her appeal.

The GEF panel found her conduct to be "in violation of the diligence and care obligation" required by its regulations and that she made an incorrect statement as part of an earlier Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) process.

At the Championships, Australia's Liddia Iakovleva beat compatriot Alexandra Kiroi-Bogatyreva.

Alexandra Kiroi-Bogatyreva claims that she was cost a place at the Olympics due to incorrect scoring and underqualified judges ©Getty Images
Alexandra Kiroi-Bogatyreva claims that she was cost a place at the Olympics due to incorrect scoring and underqualified judges ©Getty Images

The Commonwealth Games champion then lodged a complaint to the GEF arguing incorrect scoring and underqualified judges cost her a place in Tokyo.

The GEF then decided her complaint was justified and sanctioned the Gymnastics Australia chief executive Chiller in addition to other judges present and the Australian and Oceanic gymnastics federations.

Chiller's false statement related to her claim that another senior judge had been invited but was unable to attend.

"She should have asked to see the invitation instead of solely relying on hearsay, all the more for the purposes of providing a sworn affidavit produced in an arbitral proceeding," read a GEF statement.

Despite withdrawing the appeal, Chiller maintains that she does not accept the GEF's findings.

"I continue to strongly maintain that the acknowledged technical irregularities in no way warranted even the very minor sanction imposed," she said.

"I therefore appealed against the findings because in my view they ran contrary to the facts found by the panel as to the circumstances in which the technical irregularity occurred.

"The appeal withdrawal is not in any way an admission or concession of the merits of the underlying legal and factual arguments."

Chiller has been a member of the AOC Executive since 2013 and was re-elected in April last year.

She represented Australia at Sydney 2000 in modern pentathlon and served as the country's Chef de Mission at Rio de Janeiro 2016, making her the first women to hold the role.