Hockey Australia has announced an inquiry into allegations of a “toxic culture” following crisis talks surrounding dirty laundry claims.
Hockey Australia has announced an inquiry into allegations of a “toxic culture” following crisis talks surrounding dirty laundry claims.

Hockey Australia investigates ‘toxic’ bullying claims

Hockey Australia has launched an independent inquiry following accusations of a "toxic" and "bullying" culture within the women's national program.

Hockey Australia confirmed on Thursday the review will include input from current and former players dating back to the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro after a tumultuous fortnight of accusations from disgruntled former and current players.

Reports of player discontent towards Hockeyroos coach Paul Gaudoin and high-performance director Toni Cumpston follows the team's Tokyo 2021 Olympics squad selection announcement.

While the Hockeyroos program appears to be burning down around them, the Kookaburras remain one of Australia's best gold medal chances for next year's Games and are the No. 2 ranked team in the world.

The culture of the Kookaburras program has never been questioned under high performance director Cumpston.

Hockey Australia chief executive Matt Favier has also repeatedly and publicly declared his support for the senior figures at the top of the Hockeyroos system.

It comes despite reports of a player strike threat in the wake of reported player anger surrounding the selection snubs of Georgie Morgan and Rachel Lynch, previously considered the best goalkeeper in the world in 2019.

Morgan and Lynch are reportedly considering appealing their omissions from the squad after being overlooked by the selection panel.

The Hockeyroos crisis took another turn this week with Hockey Australia president Melanie Woosnam flying into Perth for a meeting between players and Hockey Australia board members.

The Hockeyroos are being torn to pieces.
The Hockeyroos are being torn to pieces.

The crisis talks have done little to mend the rift.

Hockey Australia has showed it is treating the ugly accusations - made by the Australian Hockey Players' Association - of a "toxic" Hockeyroos culture seriously by announcing the inquiry.

The inquiry is being led by Richard Redman, manager of the AIS Conduct & Professionalism team, together with Adam Carrel from Ernst & Young.

The review, to be concluded on December 18, will include interviews with current and former players and will be made public in February - just five months before the start of the Tokyo Games.

The Hockeyroos players warm-up before the Women's FIH Pro League in Perth.
The Hockeyroos players warm-up before the Women's FIH Pro League in Perth.

Woosnam earlier this week said she feels "quite optimistic and positive" that the accusations of a bullying culture will be resolved.

Meanwhile, the players' union has also said it supports the decision to investigate the claims.

"Hockey Australia has informed the Australian Hockey Players' Association (AHPA) that its proposed inquiry into claims of a toxic culture and bullying in the national women's hockey program is set to commence on Thursday 10 December 2020," the AHPA said in a statement on Thursday.

"The AHPA is supportive of a thorough and transparent inquiry which is independent, adheres to due process and which will ultimately make findings and appropriate recommendations which reflect the true state of affairs within the national women's hockey program.

"Subject to the inquiry's satisfaction of these criteria, the AHPA encourages its members and stakeholders to engage with the inquiry and to allow proper process to take place."

Originally published as Hockey investigates 'toxic' bullying claims



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