Two central Hockeyroos players remain excluded from the national squad less than four months out from the Tokyo Olympics with no sign if or when they will reinstated.
Four months after former captain Georgina Morgan and world goalkeeper of the year Rachael Lynch lodged formal appeals against their omissions from the team, the players’ association has called for a “swift resolution” of the protracted process.
The decision, taken by Hockey Australia staff members who have since resigned, including head coach Paul Gaudoin and high-performance director Toni Cumpston, has left the pair in limbo with time ticking down to the rescheduled Games.
Much has happened since Morgan and Lynch were dropped, a decision which became the breaking point following sustained internal unrest since the 2016 Rio Olympics.
The subsequent independent inquiry last week delivered a report finding a “dysfunctional culture” within the women’s national program. Gaudoin quit 12 hours before the report’s 29 recommendations were released, though the majority of the findings will not be made public.
As the Hockeyroos, who are currently in camp in Western Australia, continue to train together regularly, Morgan and Lynch have been forced to operate on their own, having been told by HA they are prohibited from training with the national squad, relying on the kindness of local clubs and Western Australian Institute of Sport.
The union on Thursday again acknowledged the commitment by HA to implementing all recommendations in the report, but said the ongoing appeals process “remains a significant issue that must be resolved”.
“The AHPA recognises the importance of a thorough process, however would call on all parties involved for a swift resolution to this matter for the wellbeing of our members including Rachael, Georgina and the current Hockeyroos playing group,” an AHPA statement read.
“Our members have demonstrated incredible resilience over the past five months, and we hope that a decision will provide much sought closure and enable them to direct their focus on the upcoming Tokyo Olympic Games and the sustained success of the Hockeyroos.”
A HA spokesperson told Guardian Australia the agreed timeline for the appeal was extended to facilitate additional requests from the players’ lawyers.
“Hockey Australia is mindful of the proximity of the Tokyo Olympics and would like to see the players’ appeals determined as soon as possible,” HA said in a statement.
“These appeals are being heard by an independent appeals tribunal, thus the process and subsequent timing of the decisions are not matters that Hockey Australia can control, but it is doing all it can to facilitate a quick resolution of the appeals.”
Earlier this week, HA chief executive Matt Favier addressed the report, saying the review found no evidence of bullying and body shaming in the most recent Olympic cycle, as players have claimed, but that it had been present in previous cycles.
“As CEO there has never been a matter raised directly with me – at any time – that there was any level of disquiet in the program. The fact that it went to the media without ever coming through the CEO, ever coming through the CEO, makes it extremely hard for us to be able to respond to these issues.”
He would not publicly back HA president Melanie Woosman.