Sport, Power & Politics
Australia’s Top Seven Olympic Sports In Danger Of Losing Government Funding
By Ron Reed
AUSTRALIA’S seven best-funded Olympic sports have been warned to improve the way they are run or effectively be heavily fined by the Government.
The Sports Commission today told athletics, swimming, cycling, rowing, sailing, hockey and basketball – all of which receive at least $5m a year from the public purse, and $55m collectively – that if they do not raise their governance standards significantly within a year, they will lose up to 20 per cent of the money.
The commission chairman, Melbourne businessman John Wylie, said recent reviews into two of the most troubled sports, swimming and cycling, had identified governance shortcomings “as central reasons for failures in the competitive, business or ethical standards in those sports”.
He added: “While good governance does not guarantee success, its absence almost certainly guarantees failure.”
He said it was not just swimming and cycling but “many sports” which needed to raise standards significantly.
But he said the big seven had “been identified based on the fact they are the largest recipients of Government funding and contribute most significantly to our international success”.
In a letter to the presidents of each of the seven sports, Wylie said: “The ASC believes the public has the right to expect that sports receiving significant taxpayer funding will be well run.
“It matters also because our love of sport as a nation means Australians look to sportsmen and women and our sports as role models.”
Wylie listed seven principles that he said needed attention from the sports, including proper supervision over sports science practices and complete transparency in how they spend public money, as well as improving gender balance in their administrations.
Today’s move follows the Commission’s launch of The Winning Edge late last year, a document outlining the way forward for Australian sport.
The commission is now effectively threatening to fine the sports on behalf of the tax payers who expect value for the massive amounts of money they contribute to maintaining the image of a playing-fields superpower.
This article first appeared in the Herald Sun on March 18, 2013
©2013 Herald Sun