Government should set an example for sport to follow

Professor Simon Chadwick (photo Coventry University)

Professor Simon Chadwick (photo Coventry University)

PROFESSOR SIMON Chadwick strenuously defended the governance of sport at the Play The Game world sport conference today, claiming that it is “very difficult to point an accusing finger at sport” at a time when there was such controversy about MPs’ expenses, writes Adam Manning.

Chadwick, who has been quoted 5,000 times in the press and has featured on BBC Radio Five Live, played down the attention being placed on sport.  Although adamant that “there’s lots of grounds for optimism” for the future of sport governance, he thinks that sport needs to be convinced to adopt good governance practice to prevent any quick fix decisions.

At present, sport governance is heavily influenced by large sums of money which will eventually alienate people that represent other spheres of required attention – such as the local community.

Chadwick emphasised the need for sports’ governing bodies to be guided to improve decision making, by pointing to the English Cricket Board’s knee-jerk, finacially-motivated association with billionaire and alleged fraudster, Sir Allen Stanford.

“Clearly a guy who lands in a helicopter with a big bag of money and then flies away again… are all issues that should have been asked in the first place. If you’re in a marriage, you don’t marry them very quickly. There’s a courtship and you live with them for a while, and then you marry them when you’re convinced that they’re the right people for you.”

Although money’s not the only cause of poor governance, even poor sports institutions in areas up and down the country don’t put ethical governance as their top priority simply because “they don’t have the time or the resources”, according to Chadwick, which is down to their desperation to find new methods of how to recruit people to participate in sport.

Eventually, a consensus does need to be met over the modernising purpose of mainstream sport, while being able to retain the lifeblood of fan support.

The Professor of Sports Business Strategy and Marketing at Coventry University said a consensus was a long way off, by admitted that the “bottom line could be money, but it could also be reputation or public perception”.

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Filed under Play The Game 2009

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