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Australian Olympic Committee challenges role of gemba consultancy

Australian Olympic Committee challenges role of gemba consultancy
November 24, 2009

The Australian Olympic Committee's campaign to challenge the recommendations of the Crawford Report has moved focus to industry consultants the gemba Group.

Moving to question not only the Independent Sport Panel's recommendations in The Future of Australian Sport document but the credibility of those involved in the Panel, the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) is, according to a report in today's Sydney Morning Herald (SMH), preparing legal action for misrepresentation from the Melbourne-based consultancy.

The AOC reportedly believes that it was criticised by the gemba Group, in advice that it gave to the Independent Sport Panel.

The AOC are understood to object to the gemba Group comparing it unfavourably to the US Olympic Committee in its submission.

The SMH report also suggest that the AOC object to the input of gemba increased an "AFL bias" within the Crawford report and highlights that nine of the sports indicated as being part of Australia's "national psyche" have been clients of gemba.

The gemba Group is part-owned by former AFL star James Hird, former Nike executive Ben Crowe and former adidas executive Robert Mills - each of whose AFL links are highlighted in the SMH story.

The AOC's high profile campaign against the Crawford Report's recommendations is being driven a large group of Australian sporting identities, assembled by AOC Chairman John Coates.

The AOC has also been quick to ensure that Olympic sports stay on message as evidenced by Rowing Australia who, on the day of the Crawford Reportâs release last week initially issued a press statement welcoming the review. A day later it issued another one praising Coates and calling Crawford ''flawed and misguided''.

The campaign will continue with a counter-report to be produced by Swiss-based EKS - the company responsible for preparing Rio de Janeiro's winning bid to host the 2016 Olympic Games.

Beyond the AOC and its supporters a wider outcry against the Crawford Report has not materialised.

Athletics Australia Chief Executive Danny Corcoran has spoken of his sport's support for the "whole of sport" approach advocated by the Report while Sport SA Chief Executive Jan Sutherland welcomed the Reportâs recommendation to upgrading sport facilities in schools and reinstating physical education as a key component in curriculums, stating âwe're pushing for more and more participation, but we don't actually have enough facilities."

The Australian Sports Federations Alliance, representing 600 sporting organisations, also welcomed the Crawford Report with spokesperson Peter Cummiskey says the report has embraced ASFA's propositions "like the need for more sport and physical activity in the education system, the need for maintenance as well as funds to build certain sport infrastructure (and) the need to look at alleviating the costs, through the tax system, of participation in sport."

The Australian Sporting Goods Association (ASGA) has also supported the recommendation to put sport and physical education back into education, Executive Director of the ASGA, Sean Cary saying "our children today aren't being given the same opportunities of playing sport like children in previous generations."

Cary added "having fun in playgrounds, being involved in school sport and generally being encouraged to be physically active are all important aspects of every Australian child's physical and mental development."




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