In a bid to counter a number of integrity scandals that have rocked Australian sport in recent years, the federal government has created a new authority, described by ABC News as a “one-stop-shop integrity agency.”
Sport Integrity Australia will bring several bodies, including the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA), the National Integrity of Sport Unit and others under one giant umbrella. The authority will target match-fixers, drug cheats and other forms of corruption in Australian sport.
The reforms come after a year-long review, called the Review of Australia’s Sports Integrity Arrangements, chaired by former royal commissioner, James Wood. The study made 52 recommendations, almost all of which were adopted by the government. The study was commissioned following several scandals over the years, including match fixing claims in soccer and tennis, and the ball-tampering scandal in cricket.
Federal Sports Minister, Bridget McKenzie said that the reforms sent a very clear message that Australians have no tolerance for the corruption of sport.
”Sport makes a huge contribution to Australia – socially, culturally and economically – and we are absolutely committed to protecting our sporting integrity now and into the future,” she said.
Australia also became the first nation outside of Europe to sign the Macolin Convention (the Council of Europe Convention on the Manipulation of Sports Competitions), which allows the sharing of information between international sports agencies to fight against match fixing.
Protecting Australia’s Sport
McKenzie said that the formation of the new integrity body reassured the hundreds of thousands of Australians who are involved in sport at every level, that they can be confident that their sport is better protected from doping, match fixing and criminal exploitation of athletes and events.
”We have seen the massive fallout from the cricket ball-tampering scandal and the loss of belief in our national cricket team and we are determined to prevent incidents like this from happening,” she said. “Australian sports lovers deserve to know that the sport they watch and the teams they support are competing on a level playing field and playing fairly.”