Posted in Advertising, Athletes, Branding, Caribbean, Sport

Governance in Sport

The credibility of sporting organizations has come into question a lot in the last decade with the rise in scandals. This has caused, what some believe, a decrease in public’s trust and by extension the process of democracy.

In the meantime, sport continues to strengthen its role as a major influential institution and its process is also one which is used across corporate and a range of other organizations.

According to Hums and McLean, sport governance refers to the exercise of power with consideration given to influence, authority and the nature of decision making.

In the Caribbean we have heard cries for better governance, but we ask what this really means. Sport Australia summarizes its focus on governance to look at adopting a culture that focuses on accountability. In a lot of other jurisdictions, accountability and processes that are used to impact on policy form the general argument about what good governance should really be.

In the UK, a new code for sport was developed in April 2017 which sets out the levels of transparency, accountability and financial integrity that is required for funding from the national lottery.

While the commercialization of sport has seen incredible growth in the last decade with increased revenues and revenue streams – one of the causes of governance failures must be the slow way, especially in this region (Caribbean) that, sport, which remains a voluntary institution, still have inadequate resources to govern the modern, commercial world of sport of today.

Here’s how Adidas structure looks. One of the world’s top sporting brands

Those reasons may not hold much today, even with those facts as there are some sporting bodies that have governed well. There are four key areas that should be placed as priority to ensure each sporting body meets its mandate for accountability.

These key areas are:

  • Checks and balances – this is a system which prevents concentration of power in any one place. The concept of separation of power looks at a system which accounts for decision making being done based on roles. This process can counter any outside influences.
  • Democracy is also key – this has to do with the public good and how it stacks up against autonomy. The structure of the democratic process must reflect the accountability required. We are looking key success factors such as a legal system, compliance and even a sanctioning process. Stakeholder participation is also key to a democracy along with the way people are elected to govern
  • Perception – how people feel. A sporting body must be transparent, and its communication model must show that. All factual matters of the organization must and show find its way to the public in a timely and consistent way.
  • Diversity in offerings – sport must meet the need to be socially, environmentally and ethically aware and while meeting all the other needs of operations must find a way to meet these other needs. As sport continues to establish itself and make an impact on the wider society, there is need to refresh its goals and objectives for a comprehensive role while achieving financial success

Steps must and should be taken to hold sporting bodies accountable. Stakeholders should therefore be mindful of the people they elect to serve; while focusing on what the outcomes should be.

Governance is a process and while it is our sport leaders where the buck stops, the process starts with us, electing people who are capable, able and willing to lead and manage sport in a way we can all benefit on and off the field of play.

Volleyball is in the top five richest sport in the world – see its structure

Some progressive news on governance – The IAAF will elect its first female vice-president this year as it continues its efforts to ensure that women are represented at the highest levels of the sport. As part of the widespread reforms adopted by the IAAF Congress at the end of 2016, the IAAF has added minimum gender targets into its constitution to establish parity at all levels in the sport’s governance. This is a welcome addition to the Business of Sport.

#GetInTheGame

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Posted in Cricket, Leadership, Management, Sport

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

Posted in Sport

A step towards good governance in sport

Jamaica’s sporting industry has benefited from excellent performances on the track, field, court and in the ring, likewise the country has had some excellent administrators some of whom have led in the international sphere. As a developing country, the publicity gained from this has had tremendous impact. However with sport playing such a meaningful role in people’s lives, there are assertions that the athletes’ progress and growth are surpassing what administrators can and have been able to lead. Is this true of the Jamaican situation? 

The major stakeholders in Jamaica are Government, Private Sector (Sponsors), Sporting Federations, Athletes, Schools & Colleges, Communities, Media and the international bodies. 

The Business of Sport has in the last three years raised some valuable questions and have moved towards creating an environment where the stakeholder groups can openly and privately discuss the evolution of sport through a communication platform in a series of workshops and conferences. While the concept seeks to point out the issues, it has also made massive steps in providing solutions which is now urgent. 

The Business of Sport has offered solutions for management, marketing, media, education and its role; it has also looked at anti-doping – this has been done by assembling experts in academia, media, branding, and sport planning to name a few areas. 

If Jamaica was to copy what a country like Denmark is doing where their equivalent of The Business of Sport has merged with its Institute of Sport seeking “to widen and deepen the search for solutions” that would be a master stroke for sport development. The question is though, is Jamaica serious about sport?

As the country seeks to find its footing through its programmes and policies, here are some key areas which must be managed towards achieving good governance in sport: 

  • Transparency and public communication 
  • Democracy must be adhered to at all times 
  • There must be checks and balances
  • Solidarity 

The country’s drive towards seeing a continuing formula for success must be driven by the demand for good governance, but must be contributed to by the Jamaican community at home and abroad through its contributions. Sporting federations must have clear plans which aims towards a national goal all targeted at competing at the highest level and impacting socially, financially and ethically on people’s lives while creating wealth opportunities for those who make it a career. 

There should also be a system in place to evaluate management performances by sporting federations which should  in turn help to produce better leaders and reduce the risk of corruption. While doing that there should also be a move towards collecting evidence, data, and calculating return on investment to ensure continuity in programmes. 

This is The Business of Sport. Image