Swimming Australia’s board is having emergency meetings on Friday and will urge member associations to adopt reforms proposed by World Aquatics and backed by Olympic powerbrokers.
If the constitutional reforms, which effectively give more say to athletes and coaches, aren’t supported, then World Aquatics are likely to make the bombshell move and expel Swimming Australia.
It is just the latest crisis for SA who have already lost Australia’s richest person, Gina Rinehart, as a benefactor after the governing body upset her.
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Rinehart stepped up her backing of financial support to Australia in the aftermath of the country’s failed campaign in the pool at the 2012 Olympics.
In those Games in London, the Dolphins won only one gold medal, prompting Rinehart to get involved.
But, after losing faith in SA two years ago, Rinehart now targets the athletes to make sure those who need the cash, get the cash.
Gina Rinehart hasn’t liked how the sports governing body has treated its swimmers. Credit: Getty Images
“I still can’t believe Swimming Australia lost the greatest benefactor I’ve seen since Santa Claus,’’ Swimming Queensland chief executive Kevin Hasemann told News Corp.
News Corp says the sport is “leading a bizarre double life” and “behind the scenes there has been … unprecedented turmoil”.
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Rinehart has pumped $60 million into various Australian Olympic teams, including swimming, volley ball and rowing.
But she lost faith in SA after hearing from the parents of top swimmers stories of delayed payments and confusion over the invoicing system.
SA has also been spitting out presidents and chief executives over the past few years.
That fact has alarmed the world sports hierarchy.
Currently interim president Susan Smith is in the hot seat.
SA’s board is hopeful they are on the verge of reforms that will prevent the world governing body taking over the sport in this country.
“We have made positive progress with our members and we remain hopeful of getting the right outcome for the benefit of our sport, and particularly for our athletes,” Smith said.
The Australian and international Olympic committees are among those urging SA members to adopt constitutional reform.
“The sport needs to be able to move on, so we urge all parties to adopt the proposed amendments,” Australian Olympic Committee president Ian Chesterman said.
Australian Sports Commission (ASC) chair Josephine Sukkar said the funding of sports relied on good governance.
“As one of our leading and highest-funded sports, we welcome these changes,” Sukkar said.
Australia’s swimmers topped the medal tally at the world championships in July, winning 13 gold medals.
Sukkar said the ASC was working to ensure the preparation of elite swimmers for next year’s Olympic and Paralympic Games “are not impacted by these changes and that swimming’s future is one of continued success”.
If SA is expelled by World Aquatics, it would not impact Australian swimmers competing at global events.
– With AAP
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