Swimming Australia Loses Top Sponsor After Spate Of Controversies
Swimming Australia's "problems continued to mount" on Wednesday after it lost major sponsor EnergyAustralia just days after the SA President Barclay Nettlefold resigned over allegations of "inappropriate" behavior, according to Sudipto Ganguly of REUTERS. SA CEO Mark Anderson said, "This is a difficult time for Swimming Australia and we recognize there are no easy solutions. Firstly, Barclay Nettlefold resigned ... Now a major sponsor has withdrawn its support from Swimming Australia. This is obviously disappointing but we respect the decision" (REUTERS, 6/5). The AAP's Laine Clark reported the sponsorship -- believed to be worth at least A$2M ($1.9M) a year -- "reportedly made up almost half of SA's annual revenue for corporate sponsorship." It is "another body blow" to SA, which is "trying to rebuild after Australia's disappointing London Olympic performance tainted by the Stilnox controversy." Nettlefold's resignation "appeared to be the last straw" for EnergyAustralia (AAP, 6/5).
SHAKING OFF THE NERVES: In Sydney, Nicole Jeffery reported EnergyAustralia "was already nervous" after the Stilnox scandal involving the men's 4x100m freestyle relay, but "had been reassured by the cultural changes being instituted in the sport -- until the face of those changes, Nettlefold, was forced to step down." Anderson claimed that the sport "would recover from the series of scandals, setbacks and resignations it had sustained" since the London Olympics. Anderson: "We have made a number of cultural and governance changes but the events of the last few days have crystallised the need for further endemic organisational and cultural change" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 6/5). In Brisbane, Todd Balym noted combined with the A$500,000 in annual funding cuts the sport received from the Australian Sports Commission, the sport now has an A$8M shortfall between now and the 2016 Rio Olympics (COURIER-MAIL, 6/5).