SEXISM CHARGE THREATENS SPORT
CHARGES of sexual discrimination and the prospect of a controversial legal
case are tearing apart one of Australia's fast growing sports.
The drama started with the abolition of the women's section of the
$175,000 Professional Beach Volleyball Australia (PBVA) competition three weeks
before the start of the season.
Now the women are claiming they were discriminated against because they
weren't paid the same amount as the men. They also claim they weren't allocated
adequate centre court time.
The Anti-Discrimination Board of NSW is investigating complaints about pay
parity and the axing of the women's tour, which happened last week and just two
years after they first entered the competition.
The competitors are devastated.
Most of the women came from the junior Australia indoor volleyball team
and were told if they competed in the rebel American beach game they would be
banned from playing for their country again.
Marion Taylor, 22, was captain of the national junior team at the time and
she believed the spiel from the powerbrokers behind the professional movement
that her future was in beach volleyball.
This was because the American beach volleyball game was booming and
Australia would follow suit.
Taylor had been earmarked as a future Australian captain but sacrificed it
to take on the professional beach version.
She quickly became Australia's premier female player and stuck at
professional beach volleyball despite the lack of parity in prizemoney.
"Now, all I feel is cheated and extremely disappointed," she said. "...
Obviously disappointed we have been dropped, but more than that, disappointed at
the way the axing was undertaken."
Taylor said the only explanation she received for the axing was that the
recession had hit everyone hard.
Anti-Discrimination Board president Steve Mark said he believed the
professional women's beach volleyball movement had "tremendous fodder for
"Obviously I don't have all the facts so I can't make judgments," he said.
"But from what I've heard and the fact that the prizemoney badly lacked parity
last year means that things have been conducted in a spirit contrary to the
basic principles of the exercise.
"There are lots of legal twists and turns in cases such as this but we
will try to attempt to conciliate this.
"And that means it could lead to the Equal Opportunities Tribunal Board.
They have the binding power to order them to award compensation and damages to
the women for any loss up to $40,000."
And ironically that's about how much the women's circuit was worth last
year compared with the $120,000-plus the men received.
Over the past two years, of the 530 centre court matches played, only 60
were allocated to the women, say the sacked females.
So, just three weeks short of the start of the season, unexpectedly, the
women were cut, leaving them sport-less for the summer, bitter and ready for
When approached for comment, the executive director of PBVA, Dan Kiefer,
an American citizen, refused to come to the phone.
In the background, despite repeated pleas to get a quote from him, he was
overheard to say: "If he wants an axe to grind he won't get it from me. There is
not a story in this."
But there most assuredly is. When asked to comment on why no money was
snipped off the men's tour to help the women's survive, the selftitled office
lackey, Paul Raudkepp, seemingly the spokesman for Kiefer and the PBVA, said:
"I'm not in a position to tell you all those things."
What he did say was: "We have a prepared statement that has been sent to
the women. If you want I will post you a copy."
It didn't turn up. He wouldn't release it over the phone.
Dr Lyn Embrey, the president of the Sportswomen's Association of
Australia, said: "It certainly seems to me like they (PBVA) are in breach of
"The girls are entitled to be upset ... and they should go straight to the
"I am so glad that something like this has finally been brought to the
media's attention because discrimination against women in sport is completely
In another twist, the existing amateur beach volleyball body in Australia,
determined to stem the American-based professional tide, have started their own
circuit and have the backing of Diet Pepsi.
They have agreed to talks with the previously banned women.
WIDNES SEARCH FOR OFFIAH
WHERE is Martin Offiah? That's the question being asked in English league
circles because the lightning fast winger has not turned up for training with
Widnes yet this season, and his career appears in limbo following contractual
differences. Offiah, who most recently played with St George, signed a 10-year
contract with Widnes in 1988, but has in the past been wooed by gridiron
officials to switch codes. His club's legal advisers have indicated Offiah is
not available to play American football. Manager Jim Mills said: "Offiah is not
for sale at any price. It's up to him to honour his contract."
HORAN, LITTLE REJECT LEAGUE
STAR Wallaby centres Jason Little and Tim Horan will resist the big-money
rugby league offers certain to flow after the World Cup to continue their rugby
union careers in 1992. The news is a boost to the code as the Wallabies prepare
for one of the most significant matches in Australian rugby history-against New
Zealand in their World Cup semi-final early tomorrow morning (1am Sydney time).
Speculation has been rife about a league raid on Australia's best rugby talent
after the tournament, with Little and Horan as two of the prime targets. North
Sydney have had their sights on Little since tempting him with a $300,000 offer
in 1990, while Horan's line-breaking skills, strength and copybook defence make
him a surefire hit in league. "I'm content," Little said. "I want to stay with
rugby. You don't say: 'I've played a certain number of Tests, now I can go to
league.' I know I can play a lot better so there's plenty more I can do in
rugby." Horan said: "There are so many places to go and people to meet, so many
more tours to look forward to. I'd like to play rugby in another country, maybe
Italy, sometime, too. I'm 100 per cent rugby right now." Meanwhile, Wallaby
hooker Phil Kearns, a keen Cronulla supporter, is still being chased. St George
are believed to have an "in" with the Wallabies because of Scott Gourley. The
new generation is different-another of the impressive youngsters from the
Australian rugby union schoolboys team has crossed the barrier. The first to go
was Craig Polla Mounter (Canterbury). Now Scott Murray has joined Easts and the
talented John Turner is a Bear. Norths coach Steve Martin is in Great Britain,
eagle eye focused on a couple of players in the Cup semi-final.
NO DOUBT ABOUT GOLLOGLY
GOLLOGLY is now a gelding -Gollogly the horse, that is. And our Newcastle
bureau boss, Grahame Timbrell, has the evidence. The two-year-old galloper,
part-owned by Newcastle racing columnist and former jockey Alan Gollogly and
named after him, went under the vet's knife last week. And at 5.30 last Thursday
morning, his Cessnock trainer, Jeremy Sylvester, practical joker
extraordinaire, had the proof deposited, by courier, on Timbrell's front door
step. Inside a polystyrene cooler and packed in ice sat Gollogly's (the
horse)testicles. The sight of them sure gave the muesli a funny taste. Even the
cat(a male) turned his nose up at his biscuits and hid. Gollogly (the
columnist)told Timbrell several months ago that the horse would never go under
the vet's knife. "I feel too close an affinity with this horse-it would be too
painful for man and beast," he said. Sylvester, the humorist and the man
responsible for naming the horse, had other ideas. He believed that if Gollogly
(the horse) was ever to be any good he would have to lose his two prize assets
to keep his mind on racing. He believed it only proper that the public should
know and Timbrell should have the evidence. Gollogly (the columnist) was too
shaken and upset to comment on the operation. The former jewels of Gollogly(the
horse) have been passed on to his namesake.