You are here

Can sport organisations be made better?

Tuesday, March 18, 2014
Things that Matter

Increasingly sport organisations are faced with tough calls. They are facing challenges that are proving in some instances very difficult to surmount.


Many sport organisations, national governing bodies and clubs are struggling, some seem to have lost their way and no longer have a clear identity.


Sport stakeholders have the view and some aren’t shy in saying so—that there is an urgent need for sport organisations to contemporise and revitalise. 


There is even the rather harsh view that even though hope may spring eternal, some sport organisations may just be delaying the inevitable.


Staying on the traditional path for tradition stake is a long slow struggle.


Is it true that some sport organisations are just hanging in and not doing much? If so why are they refusing to face the reality?


There are claims that the notion that sport is democratically run by members is a myth. Members either don’t care or aren’t qualified to keep the executive in check some of whom draw material financial benefits from their elected volunteer positions.


People who have clear conflict of interest and others who wouldn’t meet a Central Bank fit and proper test seem to somehow find their way into the corridors of authority and power.


What’s the solution? How can the perception be changed?


How realistic is it to make far-reaching changes and still respect the volunteer not for profit membership based ideals?


Are sport organisations’ governance structure as deeply flawed as some claim them to be? 


How can local sport leaders change the perception sport organisations are autocratic?


Inclusive and democratic must be the reputation that sport organisations strive to attain.


Well guided and well served that’s the buzz word. That’s the value proposition.


How can we make sport organisations better?


It’s important that stakeholders feel a true sense of ownership in their sport organisations. They should see their sport organisations as more than a conduit to play a sport.


Sport organisations can be places where people share in each other’s success, where you find support in the tough times when defeat and failure present a challenge.


A social place where people make new friends, reach out to those less fortunate, and invite others to become part of a community of sport lovers.


Even national sport organisations that consider themselves the best can become even better.


Sport organisations share a common heritage and history. They share the same beliefs, values and traditions. Members of a sport organisation generally tend to feel a strong commitment to one another and to their sport as a whole.


The onus is on the sport organisation to build a sense of community and connection.


No sport organisation is perfect and even the best can improve.


In striving to make sport organisations—national, club, community or school better.


It’s important to appreciate that nothing hurts an organisation like negativity especially a few disgruntled people who complain about virtually everything. Negativity that is not true must be exposed.


Just as in other areas of life—gossip and gossip mongers whose own insecurity motivates them to put others down as a way of feeling better about themselves can be destructive and counterproductive to the progress and sustainable development and growth of a sport and sport organisations.


Cliques and the refusal to accept change can stifle growth and development.


Tradition and time honoured traditions can be rigidly upheld and when this happens a sport organisation can quickly decline.


It’s important to find a balance that will maintain time less principles and traditions while embracing new ways of doing things and involving new people in doing them.


• Brian Lewis is the President of the Olympic Committee and the T&T Commonwealth Games Association. The views expressed are not necessarily those of the TTOC or TTCGA.