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Olympics: AOC urged to modernise after bullying allegations

SYDNEY (Reuters) - The Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) has been urged to modernise in a report into its workplace culture that was commissioned after allegations of bullying earlier this year.

Media director Mike Tancred, a fiercely loyal ally of long-serving AOC President John Coates, was "severely reprimanded" in June after being found guilty of "disreputable conduct" towards former chief executive Fiona de Jong.

The case triggered a series of accusations of bullying at the organisation and the report released on Thursday said staff spoke of witnessing "'deceitful', 'two-faced', 'egotistic' and/or 'belligerent'" behaviour from senior figures.

Stakeholders also perceived that Coates, who comfortably survived a challenge to his 27-year leadership of the body in May, exercised "overriding influence or control over the AOC".

New chief executive Matt Carroll said the AOC would implement all 17 recommendations of the review, which presented the body with a "platform to reset the organisation".

"The AOC's modes of operation that may at one time have served us well are being questioned and our organisational culture has come under scrutiny," he said in a statement.

"The AOC executive acknowledges the reality of the challenge we face in this area and we are committed to build a culture that is fit for purpose and aligned to our exposed values and principles."

Coates will hold a news conference later on Thursday at which he will announce the Chef de Mission for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, with Kitty Chiller expected to retain the role despite a tricky debut in Rio.

(Reporting by Nick Mulvenney, editing by Peter Rutherford)

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