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Eight State Athletics Presidents Call Out Leadership Concerns Of Athletics Australia


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ll eight presidents from Australia’s state athletics member associations have penned a letter to the Athletics Australia board, raising issues and concerns over the current leadership of Athletics Australia.

The letter accused the national sporting organisation (NSO) of lacking thought leadership, failing to support coaches and official, having commercial and digital agreements outstanding, and went as far to recommend leadership coaching and development for senior leaders, including Athletics Australia CEO, Darren Gocher.

The letter said: “it is the view of the presidents that leadership practices are at the core of these issues and we ask that this be addressed through performance management, development and coaching.”

Athletics Australia president, Mark Arbib, told the ABC the letter was “standard practice” in preparation of the annual general meeting of presidents.

“This year’s letter helped focus on administrative areas that needed attention and effort; from my perspective it was extremely helpful and gave the meeting real purpose,” Arbib said.

Discussing the impact of COVID-19, Arbib said the postponement of the Olympics, along with the cancellation of athletics events across the country, “has created great stress and disappointment for our athletes, coaches and team.”

“I am proud of the way our athletics community have responded to the challenges, it has tested us at every level of the organisation, and we will emerge stronger in the future,” he said.

Included in the letter were concerns about a 30% rise in insurance premiums and employee attrition at 75% since Gocher took the top role, to which Athletics Australia said it has reduced insurance rise to 10%.

Gocher was named Athletics Australia CEO in 2017 after a run as the CEO of Nitro Athletics; in response to the calls for Gocher to receive leadership coaching and development, Athletics Australia said: “[Gocher] has undertaken significant leadership and coaching programs in his current role and throughout his career.”

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