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Former Chief Executive in reported dispute with Australian Olympic Committee

Former Chief Executive in reported dispute with Australian Olympic Committee
March 28, 2017

Former Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) Chief Executive Fiona de Jong is reportedly in dispute with the organisation after making a complaint against one of its key staff members.

According to a report in The Australian, De Jong is claimed to have made a complaint against the AOC’s Director of Media and Communications Mike Tancred.

Details of the alleged dispute have yet to be disclosed and Tancred has apparently declined to comment to media.

The dispute comes in the build-up to the AOC elections for the President and Executive Board on 6th May, where Danielle Roche, winner of an Olympic hockey gold medal at Atlanta 1996, will challenge long-standing incumbent John Coates.

De Jong (pictured above) announced her resignation as the AOC Chief Executive last October having acted as deputy Chef de Mission of the Australian team at Rio 2016.

She had been with the AOC for 12 years and worked on 10 Olympic campaigns.

It has been claimed by The Australian that she had lost control of communications at the AOC, with Tancred reportedly insisting on reporting to Coates, with De Jong also said to be disappointed at the management of Australia’s team at Rio 2016.

She was forced to deal with a number of controversies involving Australian competitors at the Olympics, including when criminal proceedings were brought against nine athletes from the country after they gained access to a basketball semi-final with alleged tampered accreditation.

The alleged dispute comes despite AOC President Coates, also a Vice-President of the International Olympic Committee, describing De Jong as "one of Australia’s great sports administrators" and praised her "outstanding contribution" to the Olympic Movement in the country when she resigned.

The case adds to acrimonious atmosphere in the lead up to the AOC Presidential, where Roche will be the first person to challenge Coates for the Presidency, a post he has held since 1990.

The 46-year-old insisted it was her "own decision" to stand for AOC President amid speculation that she was put up to it by Australian Sports Commission (ASC) Chairman John Wylie, who has been involved in a public dispute with Coates in recent months.

Coates accused Wylie of trying to oust him from his position and the pair were involved in a heated exchange during a Nitro Athletics event in Melbourne last month.

Tancred backed Coates earlier this month, claiming there was a campaign from those against the President to ensure he is replaced, although Roche has denied this is the case.

Australian Sports Minister Greg Hunt rejected suggestions that the Federal Government is taking sides in the AOC's Presidential election race.

This came after Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was asserted to have intervened in reappointing Wylie as ASC Chairman before the election in a show of support.

Roche has produced a series of bold pledges, including making claims she will not accept a salary to allow the money to be "put back into sport and athletes".

It follows reports that 66-year-old Coates has a salary of around $700,000 as well as considerable additional consultancy earnings.

Roche, nominated for the Presidency by Hockey Australia, has also vowed to improve the collaboration between the AOC and the ASC, somethignWYlie has also sought.

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