Pay row Games swimmers cop blast
Wed July 11, 2012 12:00am
SWIMMING Australia has hosed down a pay row with members of its Olympic team, insisting it will not be entering pay negotiations with swimmers before the London games.
And AOC boss John Coates has suggested the swimmers should think themselves lucky, saying "other athletes would love to be getting the money" the swimmers are paid.
Swimming Australia president David Urquhart told The Australian last night: "The last thing we want is anyone upsetting the athletes at this time going into the Olympics.
"There won't be any discussions until after the Olympics and the Swimmers Association will be advised of that."
Swimmers Association chief Daniel Kowalski claimed yesterday the governing body reneged on an agreement to allow the union to sign off on a recent financial deal for swimmers.
Kowalski's comments followed a $10,000 lump-sum payment last week to every member of the 47-man team bound for London.
According to Kowalski, not only is the amount too small, but Urquhart had assured him during six months of negotiations that any final decision would be approved by the union.
The new pay structure rewards performance. The top athletes are paid up to $25,000 initially, with the added potential to earn an additional $35,000 for an individual Olympic gold medal.
The relay teams will split a $60,000 bonus. The pay debate was triggered early this year when Swimming Australia signed a major sponsorship deal with Energy Australia.
Previously, payments were limited to the top 15 or 20 athletes.
Kowalski said the new payment was not sufficient to support the majority of athletes while they trained.
"The majority of the swimmers on the Olympic team are going to have to try and support themselves on far less than the minimum wage," Kowalski said, adding it could force some out of the sport.
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