Sports world stunned by death of respected journalist

Popular sports media consultant and former Fairfax Media sports editor Rod Allen has been found dead at the bottom of a cliff on Cockatoo Island after celebrating at a former colleague’s 50th birthday party.

Allen, 45, was camping overnight at the Sydney Harbour venue with his wife Laila, and is believed to have accidentally fallen 50 metres over a walkway ledge, guarded by a chest-high fence, early on Sunday.

Police said they are investigating the discovery of his body and there are no suspicious circumstances.

Some of the 100 revellers at the party in the heritage-listed Biloela House said Allen was in ”good spirits” and ”top form”.

Tributes were made as news of his death spread. Australian Olympic Committee director of media Mike Tancred said Allen managed the AOC’s office in the main press centre at the London Olympics.

”Our media team in London was one of the best ever and Rod Allen was key to that success. We are deeply saddened to learn of the sudden death of our friend and colleague.”

Football Federation Australia chief executive David Gallop said Allen was a major asset to the sport. ”Rod had a remarkable career in sports journalism, and more recently sports administration, and was regarded as an extremely professional and well-respected journalist, editor and media manager.

”His no-nonsense approach to the task at hand was his trademark and many who dealt with him appreciated this dedication to getting the story, hitting deadline or managing an issue.”

Mr Gallop said Allen worked with the FFA during the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa and bids to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup and 2015 AFC Asian Cup.

”On behalf of the Australian football community, we offer our deepest condolences to his family during this extremely sad time,” he said.

Australian Turf Club chief executive Darren Pearce said in the past four years Allen had worked tirelessly in Sydney racing.

”He will leave his mark in so many ways,” he said. ”It’s just perplexing, tragic and sad. I regularly see Rod’s mum at the racing and we always say ‘g’day’. I feel for her.

”I feel for the whole family. Our thoughts are with them all.”

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