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Australian rugby players are being forced to attend alcohol counselling sessions following their drunken antics on a flight home from the Olympics.
The announcement from Rugby Australia comes after members of the sevens team responded to a complaint from Japan Airlines, by saying: “Who cares who f—— threw up, it’s not World War III?"
Rugby and football players have both denied wrongdoing on the plane this week as revelations also surfaced of three-days’ worth of raucous partying by compatriots in the athletes village.
One of the accused players, speaking to Australian reporters on condition of confidence, said: “People are allowed to be sick, that’s what sick bags are for…If someone was sick, it would not be the first time, who cares?”. However, on Friday, Rugby Australia announced that every member of the squad at the Games will now be reprimanded over the complaint Japan Airlines filed to the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC). The governing body confirmed that members of the team were "drinking excessive amounts of alcohol". "They have also been formally warned about their future conduct," a statement by Rugby Australia says. "Certain team members will also undergo education and counselling sessions regarding behaviour and alcohol consumption."
Wild behaviour by the Australians, who are staying nearby Team GB’s HQ, was said to have begun last Wednesday, when rugby players allegedly trashed a room as drinking got out of hand. Then on Thursday night, according to both The Australian and Australia’s Daily Telegraph, the rowers were partying, "smashing a hole in a wall of one of the athlete rooms and leaving vomit for the cleaners".
Despite strict protocols, the newspapers claim there was also an all-night party on Saturday, in which "10 Australians mingled with other delegations and had to undergo further Covid-tests, which came back negative". It is the rugby players’ behaviour while on a Japanese airline flight, however, that has landed national sporting chiefs in the most serious trouble. Cabin crew were said to be angered as players vomited in their seats, and rendered one toilet unusable for the rest of the flight. There were also reports of loud chanting and singing.
The newspaper also alleged players raided the galley for more alcohol after flight attendants refused to serve them. Players from both codes have been told not to comment and to delete any photos. Rugby Australia has since claimed there was no evidence that there was any damage or mess in seats. Japan Airlines has now requested that an intermediary is with squads on every flight involving Australia.
Allegations of misbehaviour were “stressing everyone out”, one member of the rugby sevens team told the Australian Daily Telegraph. “Who cares who f—— threw up, it’s not World War III?” he said. “Why is rugby being dragged through the mud?” The Australian Olympic Committee, meanwhile, said players were “remorseful” for their behaviour. The flight that was carrying 49 Olympians from nine sports. One rugby player on board the 10-hour flight denied any Australian involvement.
“Well, if you look at where the vomit was, it wasn’t near our seating plan,” he told The Australian. Another insider was quoted by the two newspapers as saying “we were rubbish on the field, but we can hold our alcohol”. Australian chef de mission Ian Chesterman said he was “deeply disappointed” and laid blame at team officials who were on board.
Japan Airlines has imposed new conditions on Australian Olympic team members travelling with the airline. Air New Zealand has also accused Kiwi athletes of excessive drinking, loud music and throwing face masks at staff.
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