Good Governance | Integrity | Athlete Development & Wellbeing | Health & Safety
Download Platform PDF: AAA Policy Platform PDF
The AAA stands for the establishment of an independent Athletes’ Integrity Unit, run by the AAA, with the purpose of engaging, educating and empowering athletes to combat the threats to the integrity of sport.
1. To establish the Athletes’ Integrity Unit.
2. To ensure the voice of athletes is heard by policy makers, administrators, industry and Governments on integrity issues.
3. To remove the ‘corruptibility’ of athletes by improving labour conditions and career paths.
- To engage with the Federal Government and industry to secure funding for a minimum four year period to establish an independent Integrity Unit, run by the AAA, as the representative body of Australia’s elite athletes.
The responsibilities of the Athletes’ Integrity Unit would include:
- identifying risks to the ethical health of sports, and developing effective athlete driven responses
- engaging with Australia’s elite athletes, both at home and around the world. Australian cricketers and footballers are, for example, playing in locations in Asia which have an established vulnerability to match fixing. Too often athletes are not supported by their sport
- developing and providing effective education programs on the responsibilities of athletes in order to entrench an ethical culture
- empowering athletes to intelligently and ethically question their environment and the advice they are given within teams
- promoting a sporting workplace culture that places health and safety above sport’s competitive instincts
- researching threats to the integrity of sport, and developing best practice models to underpin the athletes’ response to those threats
- encouraging the development of athletes beyond sport
- facilitating the reporting by athletes of any threats to the integrity of sport to which they may become aware, such as an approach to fix a match. Related to this would be the development of an effective “whistle-blower” function.
- advocacy, both for members of AAA player associations, and, if feasible, for athletes that are not collectively represented and are therefore even more vulnerable. The complexity of the governing regulations and laws cannot be understated and many of the most vulnerable athletes cannot access an effective advocacy service due to the cost and complexity involved
- complementing the work of the existing institutions responsible for furthering the integrity of Australian sport.
- To continue to ensure that the athletes have a seat at the table when policy makers, administrators, industry and Governments develop policy on matters related to integrity.
The AAA needs to change the dialogue around integrity from punishment, once cheating has occurred, to prevention of cheating through education and empowerment.
The AAA believes any effective policy response must include 10 key elements, as follows:
- the players, the players’ associations and the AAA are part of the solution, not the problem. The best way forward is a tripartite approach between: (i) government/the authorities and industry; (ii) the sporting bodies; and (iii) the players through the AAA and its member player associations. Athlete buy-in and ownership is simply essential
- education, and the essential role of independent players’ associations in this respect. The traditional “lecture style” seminars on the content of Codes of Conduct run by the sports need to be complemented by ethical training, individual player engagement and the development of a sense within the athlete that he or she is a person first and an athlete second. This responsibility must sit independently with the players’ associations due to the unique relationship of trust the athlete has with his or her players’ association. The depth of this education contrasts with current ASADA programs which see the emailed distribution of a PowerPoint presentation to sports to be delivered by team officials, often from within the strength and conditioning department
- security measures, the protection of the athlete, and related reporting obligations
- the athletic career path and associated labour standards, which are related to the threats to the corruptibility of the athlete. Athletes can be seen as the “property” of their club, yet their career path is short term and precarious. Legislation in relation to athletes presently focuses on their obligations in respect to integrity or discriminates against them in respect to their rights as workers. Further, athletes must have access to independent and well resourced players’ associations to ensure they can seek advice without fear and have access to professionals who can advocate on their behalf
- effectiveness – integrity measures and the institutions that uphold them must be effective, and underpinned by the highest standards of governance. A critical view of this must be taken in respect to the proposed integrity units within sports, and the effectiveness of the anti-doping bodies
- confidentiality, discretion and the protection of reputation
- intelligence gathering measures and reasonable powers of investigation
- balanced and effective enforcement
- the negotiation and development of effective Codes of Conduct by the sports, preferably through collective bargaining
- complementary legislation, especially where needed to address the role of the “third parties” who commence the corruption of sport but sit outside its contractual framework.
This policy will deliver the following measures and outcomes:
- The establishment of the Athletes’ Integrity Unit.
- Empowered, educated and protected athletes proactively promoting and preserving the integrity of sport.