Governance and sporting organisations

May 2 – The debate about governance in sport continues to rage. Closer home in the West Indies there are several suggestions regarding governance in cricket. There are always ways and means being devised to be efficient and effective simultaneously. One thing is sure, there is no one-size fit all model which works, but it is important to adjust based on the needs of the global sporting industry at the time while ensuring that the revenue streams remain open.

The ideal answer for any sporting organisation lies in the organisation’s ability to create an environment for its athletes to have the best access to preparation to perform at the highest level and to maximise earnings for as long as is possible.

The sporting organisation is also to facilitate a workable environment for all its stakeholders – public and private sectors aimed at getting the best returns on brand value of the sport.

HighPerformance SportSportsStructures

According to Arnout Geeraert “the self-governed hierarchic networks that traditionally constitutes the sport world are increasingly facing attempts by governments – mostly due to the commercialization of sport – and empowered stakeholder organisations to interfere in their policy processes.” He went on to say that there is a shift from the top down structure to a flatter and horizontal form which demand a new standard of governance.

My take on governance is there is always a challenge in the process of maintaining ‘good governance’ as sporting federations try to maintain the balance between choosing the most appropriate model and how resources are used to maximise the value of the sport at the time. The human, physical, financial and technological elements are all important.

Four major and keys areas which all contribute to better sport governance are:

  • Transparency and public communication
  • Democratic process
  • Checks and balances
  • Solidarity

Sport in the 21st century and beyond requires the most effective management with the highest return on investment.

There is the business model which is designed to earn a profit in the marketplace and the sport’s value is at the base of this model. This process has to be managed where the leaders are focused on ensuring the sport product has the greatest value. The mistake sport leaders make is they believe business models are equal to revenue models; both are similar but not the same. As it turns out, revenues and costs are key to making a good business model. Below is an example of how the concept of a business model become concrete:

BusinessModelFocus

The four key areas of what good governance is perceived as today must be adhered to. Sporting organisations must be prepared to let the public know what they are doing. Sporting bodies should take into consideration stakeholder participation is important and its democratic processes are paramount to selecting the most appropriate/available/able people at the time. The lack of a true democratic process will often result in mismanagement.

A highlight of true democracy is being able to have the systems work. Geeraert in his article in Play The Game suggests that “a checks and balances system is paramount to prevent the concentration of power in organisation and it ensures decision-making is robust, independent and free from improper influence.” The final of the four – solidarity – is really where organisations figure that social, environmental and ethical practices can complement and supplement the day-to-day work.

For more on Play The Game visit here http://playthegame.org/

The issues surrounding sport are global and in the 2015 edition of the Play The Game conference there were a series of topics of which – Good governance in sport: setting standards, raising bars – was discussed. You can view the presentations here http://playthegame.org/conferences/play-the-game-2015/

The discussion continues.

Note: Information collected from Play The Game; coachr.org

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