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Federal Government announces new body to safeguard the integrity of Australian sport
The Federal Government has established a national agency targeting match-fixers, drug cheats and other forms of corruption in Australian sport.
Responding to the Woods Review of Australia’s Sports Integrity Arrangements, the new Sport Integrity Australia body will act as an umbrella organisation for sports integrity in Australia.
The reforms will help safeguard the integrity of Australian sport, combating present, emerging and future threats from doping, match-fixing, illegal betting, organised crime and corruption, and ensure that all Australians can enjoy sports environments free of abuse, discrimination and harassment.
Described as a ‘one-stop shop’ integrity agency, the new body will combine the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA), the National Integrity of Sport Unit (NISU) and the national sports integrity functions of Sport Australia.
Before being combined into the new agency, ASADA and the NISU will be given increased funding and new powers to investigate claims over the next two years.
Advising that the new body would ensure Australians retained their trust in their favourite sports, Federal Sports Minister Bridget McKenzie stated “we are reassuring the hundreds of thousands of Australians who are involved in sport at every level - from grassroots to elite - that they can be confident their sport is better protected from doping, drug use, match fixing and criminal exploitation of athletes and events.
"In particular, we want parents to know their children are protected and be confident the sports in which they participate are clean, fair and safe."
Senator McKenzie noted how Australian sport has been rocked by a number of integrity scandals in recent years, including cricket's ball-tampering scandal, the Essendon and Cronulla Sharks supplements scandals, and match-fixing claims in tennis and football..
She advised that the establishment of Sport Integrity Australia body would help stop these incidents from happening in the future adding “to say that Australia is immune from sports integrity challenges denies recent examples that include the Southern Stars football club being accused of match fixing in the Victorian Premier League; the use of supplements by the AFL and NRL clubs; and the suspension of a former Australian Open tennis junior champion for match fixing.
"We have seen the massive fallout from the cricket ball-tampering scandal and the loss of belief in our national cricket team and we are determined to prevent incidents like this from happening.
"Australian sports lovers deserve to know that the sport they watch and the teams they support are competing on a level playing field and playing fairly.
"When Australians - and especially our kids - see examples of sports being corrupted, it means they become disillusioned and less likely to get involved."
The new body has been established in response to the Review of Australia's Sports Integrity Arrangements, Chaired by James Wood - released in August last year.
With safeguarding the integrity of sport one of the four key pillars of the National Sport Plan - Sport 2030, the Federal Government agreed to almost all 52 recommendations that emerged from the year-long review, which included signing up to the Macolin Convention, the Council of Europe Convention on the Manipulation of Sports Competitions.
Australia last week became the first nation outside of Europe to sign up to the convention – which allows for information-sharing between international sporting agencies to combat match fixing.
The Government admitted concerns over "the significant sports integrity implications" by the provision of online in-play services by offshore gambling services, but "has no intention of changing the current policy position regarding the prohibition of online in-play wagering".
The safeguard measures will also see the creation of a new National Sports Tribunal that will hear anti-doping rule violation and other sports disputes, and resolve them consistently, cost-effectively and transparently. The Tribunal, to be piloted over two years, will have the power to call evidence to establish facts and ensure natural justice.
Federal Minister for Home Affairs Peter Dutton said that transnational, serious and organised crime, including the infiltration and exploitation of sport – threatens the safety, security and trust of our citizens, the prosperity of our businesses and economy, the integrity of our institutions, and ultimately our Australian way of life.
Minister Dutton added “this response is part of the broader action the Government is taking to protect Australia, its people, and its interests from the harms of TSOC, guided by the National Strategy to Fight Transnational, Serious and Organised Crime, which was agreed to by the Council of Australia Governments in December 2018.”
Minister McKenzie concluded “these reforms send a very clear message. Australians have no tolerance for the corruption of sport. And neither does our Government.
“Sport makes a huge contribution to Australia - socially, culturally and economically and we are absolutely committed to protecting our sporting integrity now and into the future.”
Images: Sport doping (top), Cricket Australia's 2018 ball-tampering scandal (middle) and Federal Minister for Home Affairs Peter Dutton (below).
1st February 2019 - Australian Government launches strategy for sporting diplomacy
1st August 2018 - Federal Government releases new national sport plan
18th August 2017 - New Chief Executive named for Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority
11th December 2016 - Tennis Australia strengthens integrity measures ahead of Australian Open
10th July 2014 - More drug education needed to curb junior doping
12th July 2013 - Ministers take steps to strengthen the integrity of Australian sport
13th August 2013 - AFL lays charges against Essendon over sport doping
27th May 2013 - ASADA welcomes NRL’s new Anti-Doping program
20th May 2013 - Australian sport doping changes influencing WADA
5th May 2013 - Funding boost for Anti-Doping and Sports Integrity
13th March 2013 - NRL calls for more Federal Government support in doping investigations
6th March 2013 - New match fixing laws aim to protect integrity of Victorian sport
8th November 2012 - New unit to protect the integrity of Australia sport
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