New national sports tribunal boss promises to woo codes to independent body

Mr Boultbee said much of the angst and loss of confidence suffered by athletes and fans during recent doping scandals, such as Chinese swimmer Sun Yang and the conviction of 32 players at AFL club Essendon, could have been avoided if sporting codes were willing to hand over responsibility to an independent body.

“The athletes and the public need confidence that will come with an impartial tribunal,” Mr Boultbee told The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald.

“That is not to say current internal processes are not independent, but all sport will benefit from a strong appearance of impartiality. But it is up to me to convince sporting bodies to make sure they can see it will be cost-effective, efficient, speedy and fair.”

Mr Boultbee is a highly-experienced and respected figure in the Australian and international sporting community through his involvement in high-level rowing and soccer administration and was a major driver behind Australia’s success at the Sydney Olympics.

He is also a former director of the Australian Institute of Sport and has been a judge with the Court of Arbitration for Sport since 1996.

“By doing our job well, the National Sports Tribunal will be a great asset to sports organisations and athletes in this country,” he said.

“Currently the legislation provides for the Tribunal to be reviewed after two years, so there is a great deal to do before that deadline.”

Federal Sport Minister Richard Colbeck said Mr Boultbee’s appointment marked a “significant milestone” in delivering on the Morrison government’s commitment to support and protect Australian sports and athletes following a sports integrity review led by James Wood QC.

He said the tribunal, to begin on March 19, would ensure sporting bodies, athletes and coaches had access to “transparent, independent, timely and cost-effective dispute resolution services, including through private arbitration, mediation, conciliation, and case appraisal”.

“The government looks forward to working closely with him to ensure Australian sport is clean, fair and inclusive – which is what all Australians want,” Senator Colbeck said.


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