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Sponsors call for explanation of Fremantle Dockers sexual harassment claims

Sponsors call for explanation of Fremantle Dockers sexual harassment claims
May 11, 2018

Principal sponsors of the Fremantle Dockers have called for the club to publicly explain practices and culture within the organisation, after a second sexual harassment complaint involving coach Ross Lyon.

Lyon was named as a senior club official involved in a sexual harassment complaint by a former employee earlier this month.

In a joint statement to the ABC, sponsors Woodside and Programmed said they expected that the Dockers would “demonstrate respect and transparency for staff, players, members and the public”.

The statement added “we do believe that the Fremantle Dockers have a responsibility to explain publicly what learnings and organisational improvements have been made to the club’s practices and culture in the past four years.”

The increased pressure comes after Fremantle President Dale Alcock confirmed reports the club recently referred a second complaint to the AFL's Integrity Unit.

Alcock said a person had contacted the club in the past week making claims about a separate matter to the one linked to Lyon, which was referred to the AFL's Integrity Services Unit.

Alcock advised “he subsequently advised the club that he does not wish to take the matter further.

"Should anyone have an issue with any employee at our club, we will direct them to contact the AFL Integrity Services Unit, who are tasked with investigating any matters of substance and provide them with all information required

"We will cooperate fully with any investigation that is undertaken as part of this process."

Woodside and Programmed, which have been major sponsors of the club since 2009, said they had been assured by the club that the original sexual harassment incident was dealt with appropriately at the time and that this has been confirmed to them by the AFL.

AFL Chief Executive Gillon McLachlan has previously defended Fremantle over its handling of the original issue, saying it was important for confidentiality agreements to be honoured in these situations when the circumstances warranted.

McLachlan advised "what the core part of the policy is … is actually resolving the issue between the complainant and the person who they are making the allegation against.

"It's entirely appropriate and part of the policy for it to be confidential.

"There's a wide series of options available for getting resolution. There are many cases that are resolved confidentially.” 

Image: Ross Lyon, courtest of the AFL.

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However, as an independent publisher, can we ask for you to support us by subscribing to the printed Australasian Leisure Management magazine - if you don't already do so.

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