After the deluge of nonsensical “incidents” on greyhound tracks lately, it was refreshing to see that Victorian Greyhound Racing Stewards, with newly appointed Glenn Fish at the helm; have just released a GRV Stewards Inquiry report in to an “incident” at The Meadows slipping track.
What sort of incident I hear you say? Well it would appear the GRV Stewards have made an effort to explain to us that it was just a “verbal altercation” between the two protagonists.
Just the inclusion of those two simple words can leave us sleep in peace at night, happy and content in the knowledge that this most recent “incident” was just a war of words; and didn’t involve multi-national peace keeping forces, tazers that look like mobile phones or Materchef’s Julie trying to pass mashed potatoe off as high end dining fare.
GRV Stewards on Wednesday 23rd July 2009 conducted an Inquiry into an incident which occurred at The Meadows Slipping Track on 25th May 2009 during which it was alleged licensed greyhound trainer Mr. Bertu Spiteri engaged in a verbal altercation with Mr. Ian Hincliffe.
GRV Stewards heard evidence from both gentlemen but another unnamed witness failed to attend the inquiry.
After hearing the evidence, GRV Stewards reminded both gentlemen of their responsibilities as registered persons and issued Mr Bertu Spiteri with a severe reprimand regarding his comments towards Mr Hincliffe on the 25th May 2009.
GRV Stewards have stated they will inquire into the non appearance of the witness at a date to be fixed.
Now to us at Australian Racing Greyhound, that is a huge improvement on the mushroom-like Stewards Inquiries reports we’ve been served up lately, but there is still a way to go.
Of particular interest to anyone who took the time to read the report is the fact that this happened on a slipping track. There would have be no GRV Steward’s present, so someone must have made a formal complaint for them to have conducted an inquiry. Why wasn’t the complainant named?
Who is the unnamed witness? Why not name them?
What possible devastaing consequences could eventuate by delivering clear, obvious and completely transparent steward’s reports?
By leaving things unanswered or vague GRV Stewards, and state authority stewards nationally, leave an opening for rumour, innuendo and the perception of collusion between the Stewards themselves and the licensed people they police.
Now I know that is probably not the case, but why even put yourself in the position of allowing people to guess about your credibility, professionalism or honesty; if by delivering transparent and descriptive reports there can be no room left for assumption or idle gossip?
And these things don’t just reflect on the Stewards. The licensed people they police also wrongly become targets because state authority stewards fail to properly convey information to media outlets, the registered participants and the wider public.
One of our brightest young greyhound trainers in New South Wales recently returned a positive swab to an Anabolic Steroid and at the Stewards Inquiry was handed a six month disqualification. Low and behold last week the attractive young lady was seen on a greyhound track, something not permissible while under disqualification.
The rumour engines went in to overdrive, people were casting suspicious sideways glances and statements such as “rules for some and not others” were bandied about.
And why? All because the Stewards had failed to communicate in any way shape or form that Kristy Sultana was granted a stay of proceedings while she waits to have her appeal heard. That means she is allowed to be on any track and is not currenlty under a disqualification.
Why doesn’t anyone know this other than those close to Kristy or in the GHRRA or GRNSW hierachy? Because despite the fact it would have taken about a minute to issue a one sentence media release stating the fact she was granted a stay, no one bothered to communicate it to either the media or the registered particpants.
Stewards Australia wide please take this on board : Clear desciptive and transparent communication is not the enemy; the perception of guilt, innocence or collusion is.