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AOC’s Mike Tancred steps down following bullying allegations

AOC’s Mike Tancred steps down following bullying allegations
April 27, 2017

The Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) board is to appoint an independent committee to assess a bullying allegation against Director of Media and Communications  Mike Tancred, who has stood aside from his position while a complaint made against him by former Chief Executive Fiona de Jong is being investigated.

The action was agreed at an AOC board meeting held yesterday evening was called in response to growing controversy, with claims of bullying and intimidation rife among top-level officials in the organisation.

The investigative panel will consist of three senior counsel or retired judges, including at least one woman.

de Jong has alleged Tancred made threats to her while she was Chief Executive of the AOC, and said the news of Tancred's decision to step down was welcome, if overdue.

She told the ABC "I'm very pleased to see some action today after four months had passed since I first lodged the complaint.

"I guess from my perspective it's disappointing it had to come to this.

"There is serious room for improvement on the processes for handling these kind of complaints and it is inaccurate to characterise mine as an isolated incident which is what some have done."

de Jong said she was disappointed the AOC found itself in this public position, but said the issue may not have ever been addressed if it had not emerged in the media.

She added "I'd question why it had to be made public in order for there to be such speedy action, and I wondered if it would have occurred if my complaint had not become public, but that's subject to speculation.

"I do think it's entirely appropriate that he step aside, not only because of my complaint, but in the wake of a number of other bullying allegations that have come to light since I first told my story.

"It's equally unfortunate for me to see the organisation be in the headlines for these reasons."

AOC President John Coates, who is campaigning to retain his position in advance of a vote for the AOC Presidency on 6th May is claiming that he is the victim of a “coordinated and sadly vindictive campaign to damage me personally, and to tarnish all that has been achieved at the AOC".

While Tancred has denied any wrongdoing despite the allegations, he has opted to step away from his position.

Danni Roche, the former Olympian seeking to oust Coates as President, has said rumours of bullying within the AOC have been present for many years.

Image: Mike Tancred at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

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