Child protection as important as doping battle: Australian Olympic Committee chief

Sat May 7, 2016 2:06am EDT
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SYDNEY (Reuters) - Sports organizations will be expected to establish and comply with a child protection policy or their athletes will not be considered for future Games, the head of the Australian Olympic Committee said on Saturday.

The announcement by AOC President John Coates came on the back of a commitment he made last month to an Australian royal commission on child abuse.

"Without a Member Protection Policy their athletes cannot compete at the Games," Coates said on Saturday at the AOC's AGM in Sydney.

"It is not negotiable, we will reject anyone whose sport has not implemented a child protection policy."

Coates said the decision would put child abuse on the same level as doping.

"Every sport in Australia has to comply with the world anti-doping code, why shouldn't the same importance be placed on child abuse?" he added.

"This matter is urgent, we are talking about the safety of young children."

National sporting bodies would need to have the policy implemented in time for the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang in South Korea, he said.

Olympic officials currently undergo child safety checks, but the new policy would encompass the entire sport.   Continued...

John Coates, President of the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) speaks at a media conference in Sydney August 23, 2013. REUTERS/David Gray