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PROTRACK » GENERAL » Australian athletics needs to get real and join modern world, says Australian Sports Commission

Australian athletics needs to get real and join modern world, says Australian Sports Commission

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Rupert Guinness
Sports Reporter

Athletics has received a slap down from the Australian Sports Commission, in its report card on sports that receive annual government funding, for its failure to have a merger between senior and junior bodies.
The commission marked athletics three out of five for high performance, including at Paralympic level, and credited Athletics Australia for its progress made in some areas of governance and its wish to merge with Little Athletics Australia – but the ASC criticised LAA for not voting for the proposal.
The two bodies worked with the commission last year to try and formulate a merger. When it came to voting on the proposal in December, AA endorsed it unanimously, but it was voted against by LAA – a self-funding independent body.
Commission chairman John Wylie said a merger would have many gains for the sport, from improved commercial sponsorship and development pathways for athletes, to "cross fertilisation" of officials and coaches.
Wylie also said it might stave off the drop-off rate of athletes at a young age, compared to other sports that had one unified body representing them.
"With athletics, we are very disappointed that Little Athletics voted not to merge with Athletics Australia. We believe that is not in the best long-term interest of athletics in this country and we would look for that stance to change over time," Wylie said on Thursday.
"It is one of the very, very few sports in Australia where you have separate governance structures for the junior part of the sport and the senior part of the sport.
"[LAA] is self-funding and, in a narrow sense, they don't need to merge, but we have seen a lot of issues about [the] transition of kids out of little athletics into senior athletics; transitional issues that come up in that sport and shouldn't come up and don't come up in other sports.
"We also think it holds back the potential for commercial sponsorship revenue for the sport.
"We see that all the time, [with] major organisations coming to us and saying: 'We want to sponsor a sport ... but sponsoring all the way through from grass roots to elite – a single brand alignment.'
"The world is moving on and athletics needs to get on the wagon, needs to get on the program in our view."
On cycling, Wylie said he welcomed the new governance structure at Cycling Australia.
"We are confident that cycling has good leadership under its president Gerry Ryan," Wylie said.
However, commission chief executive Simon Hollingsworth said CA has: "very low equity position, a very poor cash reserve which gives them a very little scope for movement if they have an unexpected event.
"Some of the commercial events and efforts they have entered into have not generated a return they want, which has left them exposed
"We are basically working closely with the new leadership and are supportive of Gerry Ryan and Adrian Anderson [chief executive] to work through that.
"We are going to say a few more things about that in the coming weeks."

Shane McKenzie
W: | F: |
T: | C: Athletics Australia iCoach Profile


ProTrack A Grader
ProTrack A Grader
Little athletics is really second tier junior athletics and participation drops away in the older age groups.

The solution is for AA to ramp up their junior program from u14 and leave under 13 to little athletics. If this were to happen as a lead in to senior athletics participation and transition numbers may be increased. They also have to work with the professional bodies especially in Victoria. The Shield system this year was a noted failure and went to long into the season and clashed with major professional meetings.

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