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Liddick v Gymnastics Australia and Sport Integrity Australia

This determination sets out the National Sports Tribunal's decision in the matter of Liddick v Gymnastics Australia and Sport Integrity Australia

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Liddick v Gymnastics Australia and Sport Integrity Australia

Matter number:
NST-E21-148532
Date of decision:
Dispute type:
Disciplinary dispute
Dispute resolution method:
Arbitration
Description:

This case relates to complaints made by a former gymnast against a coach and is the first case brought to the NST under Gymnastic Australia’s Supplementary Policy for the Management of Complaints relating to conduct covered by the 20/21 Australian Human Rights Commission Review into Gymnastics in Australia (the SCMP). The SCMP was adopted following a review into Gymnastics in Australia by the Australian Human Rights Commission, and established a process for athletes and other persons to make complaints about alleged inappropriate conduct.

The Applicant in the case, Ms Peggy Liddick, was between 1997 and 2016 the National Coach for the Australian Women’s Artistic Gymnastics Team and was employed by Gymnastics Australia (GA). As part of the SCMP process, Sport Integrity Australia (SIA) investigated the complaints made against Ms Liddick and provided recommendations to GA for their action. As a result of the findings of the SIA investigation, GA proposed a Disciplinary Measure on Ms Liddick. Ms Liddick did not accept that she had breached any of the relevant policies and disputed the complaints against her, electing to have the Disciplinary Dispute heard in the General Division of the NST.

The case was not an appeal against the findings of SIA. The proceedings amounted to an election by the Applicant to have her dispute determined by the NST ab initio. It is on this basis that the Panel conducted the hearing, and considered in detail the evidence and submissions. Each party was given full opportunity to present its case and to rely upon evidence from witnesses and relevant documents.

The Tribunal considered in detail five allegations and found that two of those were fully established on the probabilities and that Ms Liddick had therefore breached relevant versions of GA’s Member Protection Policy. The Tribunal went further to consider the seriousness of the substantiated allegations and imposed sanctions. Three allegations were dismissed.

In the Determination, the Panel considered the application of the relevant Statute of Limitations to arbitrations within the NST, looked at what constitutes harassment, bullying and abusive behaviour, especially involving inappropriate attention and statements about weight of young female athletes, and the considerations which are relevant in applying a sanction under a Member Protection Policy.