Australia's seven best-funded Olympic sports "have been warned to improve the way they are run or effectively be heavily fined" by the government, according to Ron Reed of the HERALD SUN. The Australian Sports Commission told athletics, swimming, cycling, rowing, sailing, hockey and basketball that "if they do not raise their governance standards significantly within a year, they will lose up to 20 percent of the money." Those sports each receive at least A$5M ($5.2M) a year from the public purse, and A$55M collectively. Commission Chair, Melbourne businessman John Wylie, said that recent reviews into two of the most troubled sports, swimming and cycling, had identified governance shortcomings "as central reasons for failures in the competitive, business or ethical standards in those sports." He added: "While good governance does not guarantee success, its absence almost certainly guarantees failure" (HERALD SUN, 3/18).
TIMING IS EVERYTHING: In Melbourne, Greg Baum reported the Australian Sports Commission "crackdown comes at especially low ebb in Australian sport." The Olympic team "struggled by its historically high standards in London last year, the cricket team is in a shambles, the Australian Crime Commission's heavy-duty allegations of corruption in Australian sport weighs heavily, instances of misbehaviour dance in the headlines, and unprecedented drug clouds hang over" the Australian Football League and National Rugby League as their seasons begin. Wylie said that "the drug issue would exercise the commission's mind vigorously" (THE AGE, 3/19).