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PROTRACK » GENERAL » Steffensen goes to police over AA President

Steffensen goes to police over AA President

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1 Steffensen goes to police over AA President on Sun May 08, 2011 8:22 pm



Steffensen's AVO bid jolts athletics
By Danny Weidler
Sydney Morning Herald
May 8, 2011

AUSTRALIAN athletics is in turmoil with leading runner John Steffensen pursuing an apprehended violence order against the sport's president, Rob Fildes.

It is this column's understanding that Steffensen has already filed a police report with Richmond Police in Melbourne following an incident at the Australian Championships on April 17. What prompted this is Fildes's behaviour as Steffensen was readying to receive his bronze medal.

As he approached the podium Fildes is alleged to have called Steffensen out and, when he was ignored, asked him a number of times: ''Can't you speak?'' He then allegedly grabbed Steffensen by a shoulder and twisted him around in a manner believed to have shocked the athlete.

This all happened in front of International Olympic Committee member Kevan Gosper, other athletes and spectators. Steffensen has told friends he was shocked by the behaviour of the sport's president and is believed to be wary about being in his presence in the future.

I called Steffensen for a comment regarding the matter and the normally helpful and gregarious 2006 Commonwealth Games champion offered: ''Mate, I've got nothing to say about the matter, it's a police matter and all I'm focused on at the moment is running and running as fast as I can.'' Steffensen has always challenged the way Athletics Australia operates and has had an uncomfortable relationship with officials in the sport who he feels have done little to further his career.

According to AA insiders, Steffensen is being represented by a lawyer in the matter and there will be attempts to mediate the dispute, which is highly embarrassing for the struggling organisation. Attempts to contact Fildes and Athletics Australia yesterday were unsuccessful.

Last edited by Admin on Tue Jul 19, 2011 1:29 pm; edited 1 time in total



John Steffensen seeks apprehended violence order against AA president Rob Fildes

By Aaron Langmaid
May 09, 2011

SPRINTER John Steffensen has shocked the sports world by applying for an intervention order against the president of Athletics Australia.

The Commonwealth Games poster boy dropped the bombshell after he lodged a police report over an alleged incident at the Australian Championships in Melbourne last month.

"It's a horrible situation I've found myself in," Steffensen told the Herald Sun.

"I don't think it would have come to this point if it had been dealt with properly years ago.

"You know I always offer my opinion at the drop of a dime, but this is a pretty serious situation. I can't comment while it is under police investigation and I want to respect that process."

It is believed the legal action is related to a confrontation with Rob Fildes as Steffensen received a bronze medal.

As he approached the podium, Fildes is alleged to have called for Steffensen but was initially ignored by the track star.

It's alleged Fildes then said: "Can't you speak?" before touching Steffensen on the shoulder.

Mr Fildes has denied the allegations and declined to comment.

A spokesman for Athletics Australia confirmed its lawyers had been alerted about the matter.

"Athletics Australia requested to meet Steffensen about this matter on Wednesday, April 20," the spokesman said.

"We are yet to receive a response from Steffensen and his legal team."

He said, if requested, the sports body could refer the matter to an independent tribunal for resolution.

Steffensen's rocky relationship with Athletics Australia has been well publicised.

The 400m champion boycotted the Commonwealth Games in India last year in protest against the organisation's treatment of him and fellow athletes.

The dispute originated a year earlier when Steffensen had surgery for a back injury and requested exemption from the Games trials.

Athletics Australia granted the exemption, but told him his selection could not be guaranteed.



John Steffensen embrolied in another spat with Athletics Australia

By John Salvado
Perth Now Website
May 09, 2011

CONTROVERSIAL runner John Steffensen is embroiled in another spat with Athletics Australia following an alleged incident involving president Rob Fildes at last month's national championships.

Steffensen is going ahead with an apprehended violence order against Fildes, having filed a police report in late April.

The 2006 Commonwealth champion reportedly claimed Fildes grabbed him by the shoulder before the 400m medals presentation at Melbourne's Olympic Park.

Steffensen had finished third behind rising teenage star Steve Solomon, a performance good enough to book him a berth on the 4x400m relay team for the upcoming world championships in Daegu, South Korea.

Fildes has denied any wrongdoing.

An AA spokesman said the sport's national ruling body had requested a meeting with Steffensen to try to clear the air.

"We are yet to receive a response from Steffensen and his legal team,'' AA said in a statement.

"If requested, Athletics Australia will invoke the Athletics Australia By-Laws by referring this matter to an independent tribunal for resolution.

"The outcome of these proceedings will be advised as we become aware of them.''

Steffensen's father Russ Steffensen did not rule out a meeting with AA, but said the chance of it happening was in doubt.

"John has had issues with Athletics Australia going back several years,'' Russ Steffensen told AAP.

"It's been very difficult for him.

"This time it has finally come to a head.''

Steffensen was banned from competing for three months over summer after insulting AA officials last year.

He accused AA of "bullying, egotism and an outdated approach'' after not receiving an exemption from the 2010 national titles and Commonwealth Games trials in Perth.

The 28-year-old had undergone back surgery in early 2010.

Steffensen later withdrew from the Australian team for the New Delhi Games.



John Steffensen makes headway but still has hurdles to clear
By Jessica Halloran
Sunday Herald Sun
May 15, 2011

SPRINTER John Steffensen has made up with Athletics Australia's head coach, Eric Hollingsworth, but remains at odds with its president, Rob Fildes.
Steffensen and Hollingsworth, who fell out over the sprinter's initial non-selection for the Commonwealth Games in Delhi, "cleared the air" in an informal meeting last week.

But Steffensen still has an application for an intervention order against the president of Athletics Australia.

"I am not going to pretend I've had a rosy relationship and then something has happened, it wasn't a great shock," Steffensen told the Sunday Herald Sun.

"It's something I don't want to happen (going to the police) but for some reason these things keep occurring and someone needs to take a serious look at it. I just want to get it sorted out. It is in the right hands --it is with the police -- hopefully it will get sorted out."

The legal action is related to a confrontation as Steffensen received a bronze medal at the recent national trials in Melbourne.

As he approached the podium, Fildes is alleged to have called for Steffensen but was initially ignored by the track star.

It is alleged Fildes then said, "Can't you speak?", before touching Steffensen on the shoulder. Fildes has denied the allegations.

The 400m sprinter has continually battled against the Athletics Australia hierarchy in recent years, mainly over selection issues.

"I don't want any sympathy or crocodile tears," Steffensen said. "It happened. It's nothing new for me when it comes to my federation, and hopefully something can be done about it."

"It's not a trivial issue -- it is a serious matter.

"I've been saying what I've been saying for a long time, now I just want to run."

In December Athletics Australia slapped Steffensen with a three-month worldwide ban from competition for allegedly bringing the sport into disrepute.

That ban related to Steffensen refusing to travel to Delhi in a protest against the governing body.

Steffensen, a dual Games gold medallist at Melbourne in 2006, said he could no longer work with AA -- an "egotistical and outdated" body.

Steffensen said he was trying to put the latest incident behind him and would spend the next month in the US training with renowned coach John Smith.

Steffensen's goal is to help lift the men's 4x400m relay to gold at the world championships in Korea in August and at London 2012.

He has been particularly buoyed by his recent meeting with Hollingsworth.

"Our relationship broke down and we had to come together and handle the situation," Steffensen said.

"We realised there was a bigger picture that was the relay boys we had a chat one on one, nothing about Athletics Australia, just a chat between me and Eric."

5 And Finally... on Tue Jul 19, 2011 1:28 pm




Athletics Australia can this evening confirm that Victoria Police have found a complaint made by John Steffensen about an alleged incident with Athletics Australia President Rob Fildes OAM at the 89th Australian Athletics Championships as unsubstantiated.

We have been informed that, in the opinion of officers at Richmond Police Station, Fildes has no case to answer.

In their opinion, the matter is now closed.

Steffensen has been informed of the decision through his lawyers.

“I was very disappointed by John’s reaction to my approach to him at the Australian championships,” Fildes said.

“I wish him well as he builds to the IAAF world championships, and in his future athletics endeavours.”

No further comment will be made.

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