Australia allows alcohol for athletes but bans inebriation
SYDNEY - Agence France-Presse
Australian Socceroos football captain Lucas Neill (2nd front L) runs with teammates during a training session in Sydney on November 18, 2013. AFP photoThe Australian Olympic Committee on Tuesday said that athletes will be allowed to consume alcohol at upcoming Games but swaying, staggering, and having rambling conversations will not be tolerated.
AOC president John Coates set out the new team rules in a position statement sent to all national governing bodies of Olympic sports, driven by a tumultuous period for swimming after the London Games in 2012, which were marred by ill-discipline, drug use and drunkenness.
"These restrictions have been implemented to ensure that Australia's Olympic athletes are given the opportunity to compete to the best of their ability and with distinction," Coates said.
While team members will be allowed to consume alcohol responsibly, they are "expected to consider the needs of their fellow team members who are preparing for, or are in competition and not behave in a manner which may disrupt or negatively impact on the performance of others".
Under the new rules, athletes will be barred from the Olympic Village or other designated team locations if they are intoxicated and displaying inappropriate conduct.
This includes being: "Argumentative; bad tempered, aggressive or using offensive language; swaying, staggering or falling down; speech which is loud and boisterous; having rambling conversations; having difficulty in paying attention or comprehending others, and annoying fellow team members".
London was Australian swimming's first Games without an individual gold medal since the 1976 Montreal Olympics and its worst record haul -- of one gold medal, six silver and three bronze -- since 1992 in Barcelona.
Two independent inquiries into what went wrong pointed to a squad lacking leadership and found "toxic" incidents such as drunkenness and bullying had gone unchecked.
"The Australian Olympic Committee is committed to creating an Olympic team environment which supports high performance and ensures that the highest standards of conduct are maintained by all team members (athletes and officials) throughout the entire Games period," Coates said.