10 Aug 2018

Rowing NZ refutes claims about outgoing HP boss

6:45 pm on 10 August 2018

Rowing New Zealand says high performance director Alan Cotter "agreed" to resign and have refuted reports he did so amid allegations of athlete unrest.

Rowing NZ high performance manager Alan Cotter.

Rowing NZ high performance manager Alan Cotter. Photo: Photosport

Cotter's unexpected resignation was confirmed by the national body confirmed on Friday, a decision which came after an independent review that looked into the culture at the organisation.

Reports suggested athletes were unhappy that success and medals were being prioritised over their own welfare.

But in a statement, the national body said there had been no formal complaints or allegations made against our Cotter, who had decided to leave while the sport was "continuing to perform well on the international stage".

"We can confirm that our own internal review began in April this year, two years on from Rio, and two years out from Tokyo 2020. It was timed at this midpoint to provide insights free from the emotions that can surround 'pinnacle' events, like the Olympics.

"The well-being of our athletes and the culture of our organisation is paramount to everything we do. We are constantly evaluating how we are performing both on and off the water.

"It is important we are not looking backwards at the outcomes of campaigns but continue to look forward, so we can refresh and continually improve to maintain our place as world leading in the high performance environment.

"Alan Cotter agreed to resign for this to occur. "

Unlike reviews done by some other New Zealand national sporting bodies this year, Rowing New Zealand said the findings would not be made public.

"The review will remain confidential out of the respect to those who participated in the process.

"Key themes identified in the review are being acknowledged and steps will be taken to continue to put the culture and care of our people first."

Cotter, who has been with Rowing New Zealand since 2008, informed athletes and staff of his decision on Friday morning, the day after the organisation named their team to contest the World Championships.

The 61-year-old will step down just a few days after that event finishes, with his last day to be September 21.

RNZ had contacted Cotter and Rowing New Zealand chief executive Simon Peterson for comment.