Australian Olympic Committee Launches Investigation After Bullying Scandal

John Coates is up for re-election at the AOC
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28 April, 2017

The meeting has been called during an increasingly bitter election campaign for the AOC presidency, with incumbent John Coates being challenged for the first time since he took the role 27 years ago.

Moreover, Coates' ally, the media director Mike Tancred, has been stood down from all AOC duties until bullying allegations against him were resolved.

One of the claims came from former AOC chief executive Fiona de Jong, who alleged Tancred issued a "highly detailed and personal threat" against her and that Coates did nothing.

John Coates, President of the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC), reacts as he announces the findings of a probe into the conduct of Australian swimming team members in the run-up to the 2012 London Games, at a media conference in Sydney August 23, 2013.

In a brief statement, the AOC's executive committee said it would establish an independent committee comprising three senior lawyers or retired judges including at least one woman to deal with the matter.

"Further, the AOC will commission an independent review, overseen by the incoming CEO, into workplace practices to ensure the best possible environment for our staff".

"The AOC supports an environment free from discrimination, harassment and bullying and will not tolerate behaviors that differ from this standard", the statement said.

The AOC board is to meet in Sydney later today.

"During my time as CEO I fought hard to change the culture at the AOC, but was evidently unable to do so", she wrote.

Ms de Jong said Mr Carroll could be put in a hard position should claims of misconduct be made against members of the executive, headed by President John Coates.

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"What the AOC hasn't been able to do for four months, they've now miraculously been able to achieve in four days since my complaint became public", de Jong said.

In a subsequent email, which was also sent to senior managers, he wrote: [The woman] is a solicitor, hardly a junior member of staff.

"If she's offended it's probably time for her to get out in the real world".

She lodged a formal complaint alleging Tancred threatened her after she quit her job a year ago.

De Jong quit last December and lodged a formal complaint against Tancred, saying he threatened her and her family.

"Ms de Jong also signed that agreement but breached it over the weekend".

Paralympic Committee chief executive Lynne Anderson said comments such as Mr Coates' made it much more hard for people with disabilities in their "ongoing fight for respect".

In a letter to the AOC executive and national sporting organisations, and published by News Corp., Coates said the bullying allegations were defamatory, false and "maliciously" published, Australian Associated Press reported on Tuesday.

"The tone is meant to denigrate".


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