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Volume 10 No. 22


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).

A decision on where to hold the field hockey and rugby sevens during the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Games "will be officially rubber-stamped by the world governing bodies next month," according to Tom Degun of INSIDE THE GAMES. The Int'l Hockey Federation (FIH) met Rio 2016 organizers to discuss its Olympic venue "after it was moved from its scheduled home on the Olympic Park to the Deodoro Zone on the outskirts of the city." The plans were met with disapproval from the FIH, who believed having the venue so far away from where most of the action at the Games will be taking place "will have a negative impact on attendances and exposure" (INSIDE THE GAMES, 3/18).

Spanish PM Mariano Rajoy opened the IOC evaluation team's visit to Madrid by "claiming the city deserves the right to host the 2020 Olympic Games," according to the AFP. Rajoy was "keen to stress the country's experience" in hosting big sporting events and large numbers of visitors. Rajoy: "Of the sports facilities needed to hold an Olympic Games, 80% are already built. In addition, it is a city well used to hosting major events." Rajoy also "played down the concerns" that hosting the Olympics is the last thing that Spain's struggling economy needs in the midst of a crisis (AFP, 3/18).