Updated: 09/04/2014 10:25 | By Agence France-Presse

Australia announce athletics team review after Pearson row

Australian sports authorities announced a review into their troubled athletics team Thursday after head coach Eric Hollingsworth quit following his controversial comments about star hurdler Sally Pearson.

Australia announce athletics team review after Pearson row

Australia's Sally Pearson pictured winning the women's 100m hurdles at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland, August 1, 2014 - by Ben Stansall

Former Australia cricket coach John Buchanan will lead the government-backed Australian Sports Commission (ASC) probe to look into "systemic issues" following the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

Hollingsworth was suspended by Athletics Australia for making disparaging comments about Olympic champion Pearson on the eve of her 100m hurdles Commonwealth title defence in July.

He called her a bad example to younger athletes for not appearing at the team camp the previous week. Pearson went on to successfully defend her title and Hollingsworth quit on Wednesday.

The review, similar to one which examined the problems facing swimming after the 2012 London Olympics, aims to have an impact on track and field heading into the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

ASC chairman John Wylie said the panel would deliver its report by December.

"While there were some fantastic performances at the recent Commonwealth Games, there are a number of systemic issues facing athletics across high performance, governance and participation that warrant an independent review," he said.

The ASC added that despite a number of of reviews and recommendations over the past decade on high performance, administration, and governance "the sport is not achieving its potential".

"It is arguable that in a highly competitive sporting market place both internationally and within Australia, the sport is struggling to hold its position," it said.

Buchanan, 61, coached the Australian cricket team during the successful era of 1999-2007 where they won three out of four Ashes series against England and claimed two World Cup titles. 

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