2021 National Sport Integrity Forum
Topic: It Takes a Sporting Village to Raise a Child
Date: Thursday. May 27, 2021
Time: 3:30pm – 5pm (AEST)
Webinar details: The event was live streamed to attendees and can be re-watched by clicking above image
IT TAKES A SPORTING VILLAGE TO RAISE A CHILD…
Organised by Sport Australia Hall of Fame and Victoria University together with our partners Sport Australia, the Australian Institute of Sport, Sportscover and Sport Integrity Australia, we invited the sports, government, administrators, media and athletes (past and present) to engage in a debate on how sport can better build and safeguard participation and engagement environments in clubs and competitions.
Throughout the decades, many have advocated the myriad of ills that sport can cure. Sport has and is being promoted as a means to achieve physical health, become mentally resilient, develop many and deep social connections, and bring diverse communities together on a level playing field. Research indeed has shown that sport can deliver on various promises, but increasing media coverage of physical and mental abuse, injury, discrimination, and corruption is also showing that sport is merely a reflection of society – of its rights but also of its wrongs.
This cannot be an excuse for sport not taking responsibility. Sport organisations for a long time may have been lulled into a perception that sport itself presented a safe, supporting and nurturing developmental environment for young people to acquire and practise their life skills for application in the real world. However, our community sport clubs are the real world, and as it takes a village to raise a child, sport is just one of the shops on Main Street.
The 2021 Integrity Forum tackled issues in regard to better standards, rules, regulations and even laws, but equally important, how sport as an industry can become more aware of and responsive to its crucial role in the village that prepares young people for a complex and ever-changing society.
The Forum presented leaders at the forefront of the sports industry in thought-provoking, in-depth discussions on the moral, legal and ethical issues related to safeguarding children in sport.
Ms Josephine Sukkar AM, Chair Australian Sports Commission, officially opened the event and we welcomed insights from our international guest speaker Sanjana Kiran.
Sanjana Kiran – Lead Sport Psychologist & Performance Psychologist
Sanjana is a high-performance Sport Psychologist to international elite athletes in preparation for major games. She is also a Consultant Head of Sport Psychology, Abhinav Bindra Foundation and as Chief Consultant, Category-A, Directorate of Sports, Madhya Pradesh, and is mentoring India’s Olympic shooters; Manu Bhaker, Aishwarya Singh Tomar, Angad Bajwa. She is the Founder and Director of A-Game, a Sport Psychology and Performance Psychology endeavour that aims to facilitate best performance and elevate individuals to attain peak performance. She is the wellness expert to Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCG) team during the Indian Premier League (IPL) before it was called off due to the impact of the coronavirus.
She was one of the high-performance trainers for India’s first High Performance Leadership Programme conducted by Abhinav Bindra Foundation and Pullela Gopichand Badminton Foundation.
Jelena Dokic – Commentator, Writer and Former Professional Tennis Player
Jelena Dokic has had a storied and well-documented life and tennis career both on and off the court. With a stellar playing career which included defeating then World Number 1, Martina Hingis at the age of 16. Her rapid ascent through the world ranking was marred by her off-court struggles.
Jelena has penned the best-selling autobiography ‘Unbreakable’, a book which details her career and her life. In the book, she details the struggles of being a refugee, dealing with poverty, racism, bullying, and discrimination. She also talks about the physical and emotional abuse she suffered for over 20 years at the hands of her father, which started when she was just six years old. She also talks about dealing with heavy depression and almost committing suicide.
Jelena now pours her efforts into commentary as one of the key voices for Nine Network’s coverage of the Australian Open. She is also a motivational speaker speaking on topics that include resilience, mental health and empowerment.
Matt Favier – Chief Executive, Hockey Australia
Matt has worked in sport for over 25 years including senior positions across a number of sporting bodies in Australia and the United Kingdom. Matt has been the CEO of Hockey Australia since July 2017 where the sport has undertaken a range of new initiatives, including the development of a new national home and away hockey league – the Sultana Bran Hockey 1 League.
Prior to joining Hockey Australia, Matt was the Director of the Australian Institute of Sport where he was responsible for leading a series of significant reforms, including the repositioning of the AIS as Australia’s strategic high performance sports agency.
Between 2003 and 2012, Matt lived and worked in the UK where he worked with UK Athletics as a Senior Performance Coach and Manager based in London (2003 – 2009) and then as Head of Performance Solutions at UK Sport for the London 2012 Olympic Games (2009 – 2012).
While at UK Athletics, Matt coached a London based sprint squad, including the 2005 World Youth 100m and 200 Champion, and 2006 World Junior Champion. This squad included an athlete who went on to record a personal best of 9.91sec (2nd fastest all time British sprinter behind Linford Christie).
Prior to this, Matt worked for the Queensland Academy of Sport, the Australian Paralympic Committee and Athletics Australia. Matt was a passable 800m runner and AIS Scholarship holder.
Matt is an avid sports fan and lives in Melbourne with Michelle and his three children and Matt has an Undergraduate Degree in Education from the Canberra College of Advanced Education and a Masters of Business Administration from the University of Technology, Sydney.
Anne-Marie Phippard – Director – Safeguarding, Sport Integrity Australia
Anne-Marie is a senior leader in the sporting industry, with over 20 years’ experience in state, national and international organisations with a focus on community participation, capacity building and safeguarding. A senior executive at Netball Australia, for over 10 years’ Anne-Marie was instrumental in driving key national initiatives to grow and sustain participation and build the capacity of individuals.
In her role as Senior Integrity Consultant at Sport Australia, Anne-Marie was responsible for developing national policy to foster a culture of safeguarding within sporting organisations and communities. Anne-Marie was the lead in managing the transition of member protection, child safety and complaint handling functions from Sport Australia to Sport Integrity Australia.
Josephine Sukkar AM – Chair, Australian Sports Commission
Josephine is a professional company director who works across a range of industries, including property, construction, finance, sport, the arts, medical research and social services.
Josephine is Principal of Buildcorp, and serves on a number of private, public, government and not-for-profit boards, including The Washington H. Soul Pattinson and Company Limited, Growthpoint Properties Australia, Opera Australia, the Australian Museum, Property Council of Australia, Green Building Council of Australia, Centenary Institute of Medical Research and the Buildcorp Foundation.
She is president of Australian Women’s Rugby and through Buildcorp has been a major sponsor of rugby in Australia for nearly 30 years. Josephine is a Fellow of the University of Sydney, and in 2017 she was recognised for her services to the community, the arts and sports in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list.
Professor Hans Westerbeek – Professor of International Sport Business, Victoria University
Hans Westerbeek is Professor of International Sport Business and Head of the Sport Business Insights Group. His research expertise is in international marketing and strategic management of sport organisations, and in the field of sport business insights and analytics. Hans is on a range of advisory boards, has academic appointments in Beijing, Brussels and Madrid and has consulted to more than 50 (inter)national sport organisations including FIFA, the Dutch Olympic Committee, the AFL, Al Jazira Sport and Cultural Club (Abu Dhabi), Cricket Australia and for several overseas governments. He has published more than 25 books and over 200 research and opinion articles.
Opening & Closing Remarks
John Bertrand AO – Chair, Sport Australia Hall of Fame
John Bertrand is a businessman, international sportsman, and philanthropist.
In his business career, he successfully built companies in the marine industry, property development and digital media industries in Silicon Valley.
He was co-founder and Chairman of Quokka Sports, a pioneering digital sports broadcast company based in San Francisco.
Over his 25-year international sporting career, he was involved in five America’s Cup campaigns, both sailing, management, skipper of Australia II and Chairman of oneAustralia plus competed in two Olympic Games.
He skippered the winged keel Australia II to victory over the US Defender Liberty to win the 1983 America’s Cup, ending 132 years of American domination and in the process, breaking the longest-running record in the history of modern sport.
On May 27, Sport Australia Hall of Fame (SAHOF) and Victoria University (VU), in partnership with Sport Australia, the Australian Institute of Sport, Sportscover and Sport Integrity Australia, delivered the 6th National Sport Integrity Forum, It takes a sporting village to raise a child.
The Forum started with an official welcome from newly appointed Australian Sports Commission Chair, Josephine Sukkar AM and Sport Australia Hall of Fame Chair, John Bertrand AO. The key focus of this year’s National Sport Integrity Forum was on creating safe sporting environments, on how we can set better standards, rules, regulations and even laws that will ensure welcoming and safe sporting clubs. The panelists also discussed how sport as an industry can become more aware of and responsive to its crucial role in the village that prepares young people for a complex and ever-changing society.
The Forum generated over 540 registrations including leaders from; national and state sporting bodies, athletes, coaches, government officials, sports administrators and media from across the globe including Australia, India, Europe, New Zealand, Solomon Islands and the USA. There were more than 250 people watching the Forum live and since the event, we have had over 700 views of the stream and over 2.7k views on Facebook.
It takes a sporting village to raise a child is about the entire sporting system coming together and having a responsibility to provide community and elite athletes, and in particular our kids, a safe sporting environment.
Some key takeaways from our Panel include:
- Sport has often been championed to solve all the world’s problems; to deal with social inclusion, to deal with diversity, to create equal playing grounds. Sport has been championed for peace, for development, and for health, but all those positives of sport have recently been shown to have their counterparts. Safe and welcoming environments are essential for children to gain the many benefits that sport participation brings.
- There are some national sport ecosystems that take better care of their athletic children than others however, there is not a single national sports ecosystem that is structured perfectly.
- Coaches in charge of developing athletes or teams often see an opportunity to build and establish their own brand and reputation and that can lead to some behaviours or decisions that work against providing a really constructive, growth-oriented development environment that is positive for athletes. When the race is for medals, an abusive coach that is bringing in medals becomes a benchmark of winning best practices instead of a case study of abuse.
- The new funding issued to Sport Integrity Australia (SIA) under the National Strategy to Prevent Child Sex Abuse will be used by SIA to embed safeguarding, not only in national sporting organisations but throughout the system. This will need to be done in partnership and is about making sure that we move beyond having a policy and ticking a box, to actually embedding the policy into the practices and operations of the business.
- Professional athletes live in a bubble. It is not reality, it is not the real world and once they retire from sport, a part of them dies. No one really talks about just how difficult life is after you get out of this professional athlete bubble, nor do these athletes have the tools to go back into normal life… It’s not just about what happens while you are an athlete. It is so important what happens after and the tools accessible to retired athletes.
- These are always challenges we have as a national sporting body. In a federated system we also have challenges with regards to the extent to which these policies or the information is able to flow smoothly where it is most needed, which is at the club level.
- When we talk about the culture in a particular sport, it permeates from the top down. If the top end doesn’t get what it needs to get it right, you will never break the cycle at the community level. It is that old saying that culture eats strategy for breakfast. Strategies create the rules that we play by but culture determines how the game is played.
- We need to make sure that we build systems that allow for people (athletes, parents, coaches, administrators etc.) to raise issues of abuse, mistreatment, bullying, and other harmful behaviours, that these are acted on, and that those who raise the issues are safe to do so – not become another victim. Under the new National Integrity Framework part of the complaint discipline process that has been established is that sanctions, serious sanctions, such as suspensions and expulsions from sport will be publicly notified. They will appear on SIA and the sports website.
Our children of today are our athletes of tomorrow, there has never been a more important time to focus on our next generation.
We would like to thank Josephine Sukkar AM for the warm welcome, John Bertrand AO for his insights, our international guest speaker, Sanjana Kiran, our three panelists; Jelena Dokic, Anne-Marie Phippard and Matt Favier and of course the expertise of our moderator; Professor Hans Westerbeek.
“As a parent, when it comes to making decisions on how your children will spend their disposable time, you need to be assured they will be provided a safe & welcoming environment – able to derive all of the benefits sport participation brings. Our children of today are our athletes of tomorrow. There has never been a more important time to focus on our next generation.”
Josephine Sukkar AM, Australian Sports Commission Chair
“There’s a responsibility as we are asking our kids to go higher, faster, longer. We need to give them tools and methodology to move on their next stages of life (upon retirement) – as passionately as they did when they were involved in their sport.”
John Bertrand AO, Sport Australia Hall of Fame Chair
“I learnt a lot from the panel discussions and the plans Australia is looking to apply to improve the sports integrity scene. I will use this knowledge towards the improvement/progress of the sports ecosystems I work with.”
Sanjana Kiran, Lead Sport Psychologist & Performance Psychologist
“Thank you Adrianne and John, I really appreciated the opportunity to be part of the forum and talk about this important topic.”
Anne-Marie Phippard, Director – Safeguarding, Sport Integrity Australia
“Fantastic forum, well done – I tuned in and it was a really engaging discussion. You had a great mix of speakers and I was really interested in Jelena’s perspective given her background. You should be very pleased.”
Fiona Boughton, Deputy General Manager – Ministerial, Media & Marketing Sport Division, Sport Australia
“The live streaming on raising children for sports and community level sports development were good initiatives.”
Rajendra Prasad Pani, Under Secretary, Sports Department, Govt. of Odisha, India