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Outcome of the Sport Integrity Australia review of complaints in relation to triathlon in Australia

Outcome of the Sport Integrity Australia review of complaints in relation to triathlon in Australia

Triathlon Australia has today provided an update on the outcome of the Sport Integrity Australia (SIA) review of complaints in relation to triathlon in Australia, which commenced last year.

SIA is an independent Australian Government agency established to protect the health and welfare of athletes and the integrity of sport – from elite levels right through to grassroots.

In the past six months, SIA has assessed a number of complaints received from participants in our sport. The matters raised concerned a variety of issues relating to a cross-section of our sport – from local coaches to high performance environments.

As an organisation, we recognise that independent reviews such as these provide valuable opportunities to reflect on our culture, processes, expectations and implementation. We acknowledge there are always areas that can be improved and are willing to embrace the opportunities for change in the interests of the long-term health of our sport and for all our members. 

In coming weeks, we are also anticipating the release of the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) review of our high-performance programs, providing a further opportunity to reflect on how we deliver the best possible environment for our high performance athletes.

As we have previously promised, Triathlon Australia will support the findings of these reviews and is committed to ensuring the outcomes provide long-term solutions for our sport. Triathlon Australia has always taken matters relating to the integrity of our sport and the health and welfare of our participants seriously and has had a robust member protection and integrity policy framework in place for many years. 

Member Protection Complaints

As part of its review, SIA assessed a number of complaints received from participants in our sport, raising concerns about behaviours including intimidation and harassment. 

SIA’s assessment process involved several steps, including a determination as to whether the matters raised were related to sporting integrity matters and fell within SIA’s jurisdiction. SIA also obtained further information from complainants to assess whether their complaints could be classified as potential breaches of Triathlon Australia’s integrity policies and to ascertain if the complainant would be willing to participate in a complaint handling process. 

SIA has provided its findings and recommendations to Triathlon Australia, some of which are outlined below, has advised the complainants of the outcomes, and has now concluded its involvement in the assessment of these matters. 

We acknowledge that the complaints did highlight some members’ concerns about the implications of raising issues within the sport. As such, we fully support SIA’s recommendation to review the selection policies and athletes’ agreements to remove any potential misinterpretation that submitting a member protection complaint may result in non-selection. This was never the intention and we respect all members’ rights to voice any concerns.  

National Integrity Framework

One of the SIA recommendations was that Triathlon Australia adopt the National Integrity Framework, which is already underway. In May we will commence further training under the National Integrity Framework to ensure that our existing integrity processes are best practice and that we continue to provide an open, safe and healthy environment for participants at all levels of our sport. In addition to this training, we have also applied to the AIS National Integrity Grants program for a full-time Integrity Manager to boost our existing team and ensure the implementation, education and management of the National Integrity Framework is fast-tracked. 

The National Integrity Framework is designed to take a proactive approach to mitigate integrity threats to sports and provide a range of policies that set out broad expectations for conduct, including in areas such as member protection, competition manipulation and sports wagering, and the misuse of drugs and medicines. Under this policy, SIA will undertake the independent complaint assessment and review process.

We fully endorse SIA’s view that a culture that ensures the safe and transparent reporting of member protection issues and complaints is vital to the integrity of sport. 

Match Fixing Allegations

In relation to the match fixing complaint assessed as part of the SIA review, SIA has concluded that the language in both the World Triathlon Rules and Triathlon Australia’s policies was such that a broad spectrum of commonly used team tactics within the sport may be captured as competition manipulation.  

In recognition of the complexity of the issue, and that it was a World Triathlon (WT) event operating under International Triathlon Union rules, SIA has decided to refer the matter to WT for further inquiry. 

Triathlon Australia will be working alongside SIA and World Triathlon to assist a further review of the National Integrity Framework Competition Manipulation and Sport Wagering Policy template, to clarify the expectations for conduct of team tactics and strategy in races. 

Ms Emma Carney Relationship

SIA has evaluated complaints by Triathlon Australia representatives regarding Ms Carney’s conduct under the Member Protection Policy. SIA has now completed its assessment, and recommended that Triathlon Australia and Ms Carney enter mediation to address alleged poor behaviour and repair the working relationship in the best interests of the sport.

As part of our commitment to engaging constructively with members for the betterment of the sport, we have in the past sought third-party mediation with Ms Carney. We will again invite her to participate in such independent mediation as recommended by SIA.

As an organisation, we will continue to uphold our values of health, enjoyment, belonging, achievement, integrity and respect and work diligently to enhance the experience of all participants in our wonderful sport.