Nine Australian Olympic athletes were detained and later fined by Brazilian police Friday night for altering their credentials in order to gain entry into a men’s basketball semifinal game between their home country and Serbia.
The athletes— who represented Australia in cycling, rugby, archery, rowing, and hockey — “had tampered credentials” according to a statement by Rio police obtained by Agence France-Press. They were charged with “the crime of the use of false documents.”
But the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) insists it was an honest mistake, and has apologized to the athletes for their troubles.
“The athletes were held at a police station for many hours and I apologise for the trauma they went through, the problem with the accreditation was not their fault” said AOC Chef de Mission Kitty Chiller in a statement.
Chiller said that she was legally not in a position to elaborate on the details of why the athletes were not at fault, but said she was “very disappointed our athletes had to go through what they went through last night."
The AOC has begun an internal investigation into the incident to find out exactly which athletes were held by police, and is in the process of paying a fine of 90,000 Brazilian reals (US $28,000) for the incident.
Australia went on to lose the match to Serbia, 87-61.
Tamerra Griffin is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based Nairobi, Kenya.
Contact Tamerra Griffin at email@example.com.
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