Sports should not investigate themselves: CEO

Sport Integrity Australia

Sport Integrity Australia’s new National Integrity Framework will help protect sporting organisations and participants – at all levels – from integrity threats, says Sport Integrity Australia CEO David Sharpe.

“The recent Australian Human Rights Commission’s (AHRC) independent review into gymnastics highlights the need for, and benefit to, sporting organisations of adopting the new framework,” Mr Sharpe says.

The AHRC report recommends that Gymnastics Australia adopt the National Integrity Framework and associated policies and complaints process and Sport Integrity Australia commends Gymnastics Australia for their commitment to adopting the recommendations.

“However this issue is much broader than gymnastics, it is an issue for every sporting organisation in Australia and around the world. It’s obvious that there needs to be transparency and independence when it comes to dealing with matters such as abuse.

“Sports and agencies associated with sporting organisations shouldn’t be investigating themselves,” Mr Sharpe says. “Independence is a necessary requirement when it comes to these types of investigations.

“The AHRC report stressed that there was a clear obligation on sports to have the correct procedures in place, and athletes have demanded that any investigation be transparent and independent. Protection of athletes is at the core of my organisation.”

When a sport adopts the National Integrity Framework in its entirety, Sport Integrity Australia will manage the independent assessment and referral of complaints relating to child safeguarding, member protection, illicit drug use and competition manipulation.

National Sporting Organisations (NSOs) will be required to have integrity policies that comply with Sport Integrity Australia standards, either by adopting the National Integrity Framework or by ensuring that their existing policies meet these standards.

Whilst acknowledging that some major professional sports have established integrity frameworks that may already meet the standards of the framework, the new policies are designed to ensure athletes at all levels can have confidence in the independence of any complaints handling process.

“The framework will benefit sport as a whole and everyone involved in sport,” Mr Sharpe says.

“It means there is a single framework that can apply at all levels of sport and it is expected NSOs will work with their State/Territory bodies to ensure the policy flows down to community level.”

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