TOKYO, Aug. 4 (Reuters) – The Australian Olympic Committee will leave the country’s rugby and football federations to investigate and punish “unacceptable” drunken behavior by players on a flight home from Tokyo, said Head of Mission Ian Chesterman on Wednesday.
Chesterman said he was “deeply disappointed” by the incidents on Thursday on the Japan Airlines (JAL) flight, which involved excessive alcohol consumption, refusal to wear masks, ignorance of cabin crew and a incident of athlete vomiting in toilet.
“This behavior is clearly unacceptable and does not meet the standards set by this team,” he said at a press conference.
“They are a proud team that played brilliantly after a very, very difficult preparation and the vast, vast majority conducted themselves superbly on and off the playing field.
“The rugby and football teams are full of good people, but some have clearly made bad choices, as young people do from time to time … I hope and believe that in the future they will. better choices. “
There were 49 athletes from nine sports on the flight, which touched down in Sydney on Friday. A JAL spokesperson said the airline was “still investigating” the incidents.
Chesterman said the AOC had been made aware by JAL of the misconduct, but the airline had not made a formal complaint and would continue to bring Australian athletes back to Australia.
He strongly suggested that the heaviest sanction available to the AOC – barring culprits from representing Australia at future Games – would not be used.
“We also need to put all of these things into perspective, the proper processes are in place,” he added.
Media reports of the rowdy behavior of New Zealand athletes on a return charter flight were overlooked by the country’s Olympic Committee on Wednesday.
“We can understand that after years of training and a very successful and prolonged Olympic campaign, some athletes wanted to celebrate with their teammates before entering two weeks of (quarantine),” the NZOC said in a statement.
“We have not received any complaints from the airline.”
The bad behavior on the JAL flight follows incidents in which Australian rugby players and rowers damaged rooms in the athletes’ village as they celebrated the end of their competitions. The rowers had apologized, Chesterman said.
“I think there are appropriate ways to release the undoubted stress and tensions of the Olympic campaign,” he said.
“But it is totally inappropriate to behave in a way that annoys others. A few people damage the reputation of a very strong team.”
While the Australian team are on track for their most successful Games since Athens 2004, the rugby sevens team lost in the quarter-finals and the soccer team has failed to progress from the stage. opening groups.
Reporting by Nick Mulvenney; additional reporting by Tim Kelly; edited by Lincoln Feast.
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