Football Australia this evening welcomed the development of an independent complaint management process.
This will enable former and current footballers and staff to bring forward concerns that relate to alleged abuse, bullying or harassment pertaining to the Australian National Teams and the A-Leagues.
In a release, the governing body state that Sport Integrity Australia will ‘receive, assess, and manage all complaints, ensuring all concerns are heard and assessed independent of Football Australia’.
These details will be available in the coming weeks.
The statement reads:
“The National Sports Tribunal will have jurisdiction to hear any disputes that fall within the scope of the complaints process, through mediation, conciliation, or arbitration.
“Football Australia initiated discussions with SIA with a view to establishing an independent mechanism to supplement the governing body’s complaint handling process under its Member Protection Framework.”
James Johnson, the CEO of Football Australia said that the organisation treats matters of abuse incredibly seriously.
Johnson’s comments have been released in a video distributed to the public this evening, which you can view here.
“The wellbeing of our diverse community is our priority, and we’re committed to safe, inclusive environments for all footballers and staff. There is no place for abuse, harassment or bullying in our sport and it’s incumbent on organisations like ours to take the lead when it comes to dealing with these issues head-on” Johnson said.
“We understand that society’s expectations have shifted, and it’s vital that our sport reflects those expectations. With this in mind, we approached Sport Integrity Australia recently and we’re pleased with this timely announcement that the proposed process will enable anyone with concerns to come forward, with the confidence that their concerns will be heard and assessed independently.”
Sport Integrity Australia CEO David Sharpe also stated that it is integral for complaints to be held outside of the individual sport.
“I welcome the proactive approach from FA to address these issues independently. Having an independent body to hear complaints is critical to giving athletes and staff confidence that their concerns will be heard openly and that they will be treated fairly. Nothing can be swept under the carpet.”
John Boultbee, CEO of the National Sports Tribunal said:
“The involvement of the independent National Sports Tribunal as the ultimate appeal body, ensures those concerned are provided the most independent and thorough processes from the time of the complaint through to its ultimate resolution.”