Unelected and unaccountable. When the unelected flex their muscles sport is less democratic. Free and fair elections, it is argued, is the bulwark of democracy in any sphere. Any effort to promote and strengthen democracy in sport governance must be embraced no matter how bothersome.
Those who are appointed, or self-appointed, dilute their legitimacy when they either intentionally or unintentionally frustrate democracy.
Do not underestimate the importance of sport governance reform. Sport needs governance reform and constitutional change—radical transformation. Sport stakeholders deserve better. It will not be easy, but stakeholders will be unwise to turn a blind eye. Participating in sport according to the United Nations is a basic human right. Then, if that is so, any deficit in democracy and good governance undermines human rights.
Cynical manoeuvring sabotages efforts to enhance and buttress good governance. Sport organisations undertaking sincere efforts to reform their governance will need understanding and support. The process of governance reform is not a simple one. It carries with it the heavy baggage of culture and politics.
If we want to turn sport into a positive force that works for the betterment of society the challenges of governance reform must be met with poise and an unflinching and resolute determination and commitment. Sport leaders and stakeholders must work together. Investing in the things that matter. Different people and different perspectives can make a bigger difference. Fresh perspectives have to be encouraged.
No two sport organisations are ever the same. Good governance drives sustainable growth. As sport seeks to improve its services and running of sport, innovation and technology come into play. Demanding excellence in operational and governance is not troublemaking. It is in my view essential that sport establishes a reputation and be recognised as having some of the best operational and governance frameworks in the non-profit sector.
Driving governance policy and guidelines and support and training has to be core strategic priority. National, regional, continental and global sport organisations must work towards shaping and securing the future of sport.
Life is getting tougher for sport organisations as the glare of social media and probing scrutiny exacts a reputational and credibility toll. In such an environment a strong governance structure will ensure the fittest and strongest in respect of governance will not just survive but thrive. Public faith in sport organisations suffered a severe blow as a result of ongoing claims of poor governance. Some suggest that fears and concerns are overblown.
No matter what the divergent views may be its an undeniable fact that a sport sector that is perceived and in actual fact reflecting improved governance will generate significant benefits to stakeholders. In setting out and charting a course for the coming years the main message will be stronger and improved governance. Improved governance will have big implications for sport.
Just imagine if sport organisations considered athletes, coaches and stakeholders clients and made quality client service a priority. Redefine what is sport about? Efficency, quality or service? Or improving the quality of their product and service offerings? Creating opportunities for and enhancing the lives of athletes and coaches. Rather than complain about the state of affairs innovate and make things better.
Sport leaders can delegate authority, but the responsibility is always theirs. Be it governance or other areas sport organisations should see themselves as yardsticks of quality. A relentless drive to improve and establishing standards of excellence. It all begins with improved governance. The T&T Olympic Committee (TTOC) Good Sport Governance week began yesterday. A series of meetings with National Sport Organisations will be held. On November 7, a good governance workshop will be conducted by Professor Leigh Robinson.
Brian Lewis is the president of the T&T Olympic Committee. The views expressed are not necessarily those of the Olympic Committee. Support #10 Golds24 Athlete Welfare and Preparation Fund. Make your donations at any branch of Scotiabank account number 171188.