Sport heavyweights to discuss global integrity

Victoria University’s leading sports expert Hans Westerbeek will join a stellar cast of local and international experts at the Integrity in Sport Forum 2016 at the Malthouse Theatre in Melbourne tonight.

Victoria University and the Sport Australia Hall of Fame will host the second biennial forum which will focus on integrity and governance.

It will be led by Australia’s most experienced sports administrator Kevan Gosper AO.

Integrity in sport is again in the news following allegations of salary cap rorting at the Parramatta Eels.

Professor Westerbeek, Dean of the College of Sport and Exercise Science, said salary cap cheating, dishonesty and governance failings will be some of the topics on the forum agenda.

At Parramatta, he believes a key issue in the debate around governance was the behaviour the NRL alleges has taken place.

“There is often a case in both Australian and world sport that ‘governance’ reform is executed and complied to, but what it often means is creating a smokescreen of compliance where behind it they still plot away to circumvent integrity…. all with the singular objective to win the competition,” Professor Westerbeek said.

“It’s been reported that Parramatta has had 25 directors, six ceo’s and four head coaches in the past seven years and they’ve breached the salary cap in five of the past six years. Given the latest allegations, it’s fair to ask why they are still in the competition at all?”

He added that the Parramatta case extends beyond board to executive management.

“The disturbing part of it is, after being fined and punished, it seems they simply got together and asked themselves, how can we keep doing it without being found out, again, using governance reform compliance as a smokescreen rather than a genuine intent to improve.”

The forum panel includes Australian entrepreneur and global chairman of SKINS International Jaimie Fuller, Australian Sports Commission chairman John Wylie and ABC reporter and Walkey award winner Caro Meldrum-Hanna. Integrity officials from the NRL, AFL, Cricket Australia, Racing Victoria and Olympic sports will also attend.


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