Australia seeks to have detained athletes' records cleared

Thu Sep 1, 2016 3:01am EDT
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MELBOURNE (Reuters) - The Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) will ask Brazilian authorities to expunge records of criminal proceedings against nine athletes who were detained at the Rio Olympics after their accreditation passes were tampered with after an investigation labeled the criminal process "oppressive".

Nine athletes were detained on Aug. 19 by local authorities for over seven hours after they were discovered to have entered the basketball arena without proper accreditation for Australia's semi-final against Serbia.

They were released without conviction after the AOC agreed to pay court-ordered fines of 10,000 Brazilian reais ($3,100) for each athlete.

A report commissioned by the AOC said two of its 'Athletes Services' staff had stuck labels on the accreditations to allow them to enter the venue.

While inside, the athletes were discovered by volunteers, had their accreditations confiscated and were taken to the venue manager's office before the matter was referred to police.

The report, written by prominent sports lawyer Patrick George, said it was not the first time delegation staff had manipulated accreditations to allow athletes to enter venues unauthorized.

They had printed labels to allow them to enter "various venues" during the first week of competition, the report added, a practice that came to the attention of team chef de mission Kitty Chiller who ordered it to cease.

The report nonetheless questioned the Brazilian authorities' detention of the athletes and said the venue manager and police should have consulted with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) about the issue but had failed to do so.

It added the IOC had not made any complaint against the athletes.   Continued...

Kitty Chiller (L), Chef de Mission for Australia at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, and Fiona de Jong, chief executive of the Australian Olympic Committee, take their seats at a press conference in which they spoke about the fines levied against a group of their athletes for entering the basketball arena without proper accreditation, in Rio de Janeiro August 20, 2016. REUTERS/Chris Helgren