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Change coming to AOC - but Coates may still hang on

Sport

Australia's Olympic athletes' commission is behind John Coates - if he agrees to some reforms suggested by his challenger.

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The AOC’s athletes’ commission says it will vote for Coates in tomorrow’s election, on some conditions.

They include Coates agreeing to review the president’s salary; he currently gets $715,000 a year.

The 11-person athletes’ commission released a statement saying: “In a non-unanimous majority decision, the commission voted to support the re-election of John Coates”

Coates faces a ballot against former Hockeyroo and Olympic gold medallist Danni Roche, who has pressed for a presidency salary review.

The AOC executive and national sports federations will vote after the athletes’ commission effectively told the AOC to live up to the same Olympic ideals it expects of sportspeople.

“The AOC expects very high standards of athletes who represent Australia at the Olympic Games… and the athletes’ commission believes that the same high standards should be placed on employees, directors and contractors to the Australian Olympic Committee,” its statement said.

The commission, chaired by gold-medal-winning pole vaulter Steve Hooker, expressed support for the AOC’s recent investigations into alleged workplace bullying and said Roche’s campaign – run on a need for rejuvenation within the AOC – has hit a nerve.

“Danni’s platform has raised a number of issues that we, as an athletes’ commission, and the broader athlete population, have passionate views on,” the statement said.

“The overwhelming response from the athlete population and alumni was that there is a desire for change.

“Opinions differed as to how this change should best be achieved.”

The commission said a succession plan for Coates should be made with an aim to “cultivate a number of candidates who the sports can vote on”.

“This succession plan should involve John Coates sharing his knowledge and mentoring the next generation of leaders within the Australian Olympic family,” the statement said.

-AAP

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