Sydney Flames owner blasts Basketball Australia, Canberra Capitals after cheating scandal

Sydney Flames owner blasts Basketball Australia, Canberra Capitals after cheating scandal

The owner of the WNBL’s Sydney Flames has blasted Basketball Australia and the Canberra Capitals in the wake of an integrity breach. 

Key points:WNBL referee Simon Cosier leaked confidential training tapes of another team to Canberra Capitals coach Paul GorissBoth men have been suspended, but Basketball Australia found ‘no actual advantage’ was gainedSydney Flames owner Paul Smith has called the investigation ‘opaque’ and ‘frustrating’Yesterday it was revealed that WNBL referee Simon Cosier leaked confidential pre-season training footage of the Flames to rival Capitals coach Paul Goriss ahead of the teams’ round one clash. 

Basketball Australia suspended Mr Cosier for the entire season, and sidelined Mr Goriss until January 20 — but found the Capitals gained “no actual advantage” from the tapes. 

The finding prompted a furious response from Flames owner Paul Smith, who said the leak, and yesterday’s findings, “strike at the heart of integrity”. 

University of Canberra Capitals coach Paul Goriss has been sidelined until January 20. (Getty Images: Ian Hitchcock)’It’s more than opaque, it’s invisible’Basketball Australia found the two men guilty of an integrity breach after a lengthy investigation, which was then referred to an independent panel for determination. 

Mr Cosier was stood down from all refereeing activities for the remainder of the season for “offering and supplying” the tapes, and Mr Goriss was banned from all coaching activities until January 20 for using the clips for “opposition scouting”. 

However, the panel determined “no actual advantage” was obtained from the footage.

Today, Sydney Flames owner Paul Smith, who also owns the NBL’s Sydney Kings, disputed that finding.

“We are bitterly disappointed by the actual incident but also the findings handed down by Basketball Australia’s independent hearing panel,” he said.

“This matter strikes right at the heart of the integrity of our league.”

Mr Smith also called for greater transparency during Basketball Australia’s investigation process.

“It’s more than opaque, it’s invisible for us to understand [the process]. And that’s frustrating in it’s own right,” he said.

“Our major objection [to the finding] is the fact that the independent tribunal appears to have considered whether there was any impact on the result of the game, and came to the finding that there was no impact on the result of the game.”

Mr Smith said it was clear that the tapes had an impact on the outcome of the game.(Supplied: Basketball Australia)Mr Smith said that it was “clear” that the tapes had an impact on that match, which the Capitals won 58-55. 

“It was clear to anyone on the day that was new to the action that they had incredible insight into what we were playing that day,” Mr Smith said.

“I ask the question very simply: if there was no bearing on the result of the game, why would [Basketball Australia] find any penalty against these two individuals. Why?”

Travel restrictions meant the two teams were initially scheduled to play each other in the first three games of the season, but only the round one clash went ahead due to a COVID-19 exposure. 

Sydney Uni Flames owner Paul Smith says the investigation into the leaked footage was ‘opaque’. (AAP: Joel Carrett)Carey says behaviour ‘unprofessional and disappointing” After the investigated concluded, Mr Goriss described his actions as a “blip” and said he taken ownership over his role in the incident. 

“I’ve been open and honest right from the very first phone call and interview that I had … you know, I’m not going to hide things,” Mr Goriss said.

“I could’ve chosen not to but obviously I take, you know, ownership of like that part and my part of what happened.”

Basketball Australia said in a statement that the scandal had no place in basketball.

“Both Goriss and Cosier have been found guilty of engaging in Prohibited Conduct under Basketball Australia’s National Framework for Ethical Behaviour and Integrity in Basketball,” a spokesperson said.

 “By misusing inside information and engaging in conduct that would impair public confidence in the integrity and good character of basketball and its participants.”

Basketball Australia Chairman John Carey also criticised the incident. 

Mr Cosier and Mr Goriss have 14 days to lodge an appeal against Basketball Australia’s finding. 

Posted 10h ago10 hours agoWed 22 Dec 2021 at 3:30am, updated 9h ago9 hours agoWed 22 Dec 2021 at 3:49am

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