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In the best interest of athletes, sports

Tuesday, May 28, 2013
Things That Matter

Within recent times, if one is to go by world sport media reports, there seems to be an awful lot of sword rattling for power, authority and influence within the corridors of power of international sport.


Sport Accord, the umbrella organisation for all Olympic and non-Olympic international sports federations as well as organisers of multi-sports games and sport-related international associations and the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) are two bodies that will like to be even more influential than they are within the Olympic movement. It’s a situation and a circumstance that the IOC (International Olympic Committee) has brought on itself.


Unity and good governance must be real and not just rhetoric. The core values of Olympism and sport aren’t a sacrificial lamb on the altar of expediency and ambition. The perception is that there is a lack of trust in the capacity of democracy to deliver the best options for the sustainable growth of the Olympic movement and the Olympic Games. Mixed signals has created the opportunity for those who represent a world view to position themselves as servants and stewards of the majority.


Where is the passion for the values of sport and Olympism?


In striving to be more professional world sport must first strive to be more ethical. Serving society through sport is faced with the challenge of navigating the turbulent waters of self interest.


Sport politicians who promise the world but deliver nothing once the election race is run, need to be reminded that the welfare of sport and the athletes ought not to be made a political football. Global sport politicians maybe turning the youth away from sport and in the process damaging the image and potential of sport to make a positive social difference.


World sport is facing a period of uncertainty as sport politics and a jockeying for control of the huge commercial benefits that accrue from the success of sport events and the performances of the athletes seems well and truly on.


The messages and the perception of the messages are unclear as self interest and agendas hidden and open take centre stage elbowing out sport and the athletes best interest. 


Little of the discourse surrounding the jostle for power and authority seem to reflect the concerns of the developing world and the legion of amateurs and volunteers and under resourced stakeholders who labour tirelessly and resolutely in the vineyard of world sport. Is it that somewhere along the line the soul of sport has been lost?


The international federations and umbrella organisations, be they Sport Accord, ANOC etc, need to reexamine their motives. Is what is happening holding true to the core values, mission and vision that are timeless? Are the global sport power brokers true to the ideals, spirit and values of sport and Olympism?


Sooner rather than later the chasm between amateur/volunteer and professional sport will become impossible to integrate. Grassroots sport is the nursery for professional and elite sport. To continue to widen the gap is not only shortsighted but is anti-sport.


Sport as we have come to know, love, play and support, is in grave danger. World sport leaders and those aspiring to lead, be it the IOC, Sport Accord and other powerful global sport organisations, must represent the core values of sport.


People involved in sport around the world need the assurance that their volunteering and service will not be taken for granted, abused and be in vain. The challenges facing world sport are in many cases complex. But they aren’t insurmountable. 


The IOC, Sport Accord and ANOC wield significant influence over Olympic sport. The decisions those bodies make have significant implications for this and future generations.


The priority is the best interest of world sport, the youth of the world who participate and the athletes. If sport is to make a social and economic contribution around the world, there can be no other consideration.


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