Australian Olympic staffer steps down pending investigation

The AOC's board is to hold a crisis meeting before next week's crunch presidential ballot

Coates is facing a challenge to the position he has held for 27 years from former Olympic hockey player Danni Roche.

The Australian Olympic Committee's (AOC) media and communications director Mike Tancred has stepped down from his role pending an investigation into bullying allegations, the AOC said today.

Roche is a board member of the government-run Australian Sports Commission - which has had a strained relationship with the AOC after the country's lower-than-expected performance at the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro - but says her decision to run against Coates was purely because she believed it was time for a change of leadership.

Coates has also rejected claims of bullying from former AOC staffers including ex-chief executive Fiona de Jong which centre on long-time AOC media director Mike Tancred.

Mr Wells' claims were mirrored by Ms de Jong, who said she was "threatened, intimidated, bullied and ... blackmailed" by Mr Tancred.

But local media have called on the 66-year-old to step down.

Coates said an AOC executive meeting that has been called for this week would be a "sensible discussion" about the issues.

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"Specifically regarding the complaint made by Fiona De Jong, I assure you due process has been followed and followed with urgency", he wrote.

The suggestions from Coates that he is a victim in a campaign created to remove from from the helm comes prior to a "crisis meeting" of the AOC tomorrow.

"There is clearly a coordinated and sadly vindictive campaign to damage me personally, and to tarnish all that has been achieved at the AOC".

He was influential in helping Australia bid for and stage the Sydney 2000 Olympics, an event that earned global praise.

It details how her complaint about Tancred was submitted to AOC President John Coates on December 16, but has not yet been acted upon.

She has also taken aim at the A$700,000 Coates receives each year as a consultancy fee, saying she would work for free.

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