Why do we need good Corporate Governance in Sport?

21.07.17

We love our sport in Australia from Aussi Rules, Rugby league, Rugby Union, cricket, cycling, athletics, racing, tennis to netball. The list goes on. We are a passionate bunch.

Good corporate governance plays a vital role in underpinning the integrity and efficiency of any sporting code.

Some see Governance in sport a painful obligation but really one should consider it a platform for growth?

In the last few years there has been a tsunami of scandals, including doping, corruption and match-fixing, has led to a breakdown in confidence in sports leadership.

Has sport gone bad, or has society changed and sport just failed to keep up?

There are some great examples of poor governance in sport

Number 1 in my opinion must be the NRL which has been shrouded in scandals for a number of years from doping, fraud, salary cap scandal and drug abuse.

 A more recent League example where governance failed was with Todd Carney who is a very good player but has been shrouded by scandals.

The gifted half won the opening round of his fight against the Sharks when the NRL appeals committee ruled Carney was wrongly dismissed by Cronulla because the club failed to follow due process before sacking him. This shows that the Sharks should have followed their own Governance processes.

Under the rules, Carney was entitled to plead his case before the Cronulla board and he was not given that opportunity.

AFL and horse, greyhound and harness racing all especially with doping come a close second.

There was another recent example where a jockey steered his horse to the right to block horses chasing the winner so that his girlfriend could win the race.

Peter Moody the trainer of Black Caviar banned for using cobalt on horses and only getting 6 months and he claimed he was not using for increasing the performance of his horses.

What goes through people’s minds when they do not follow to the rules.

The contrast between money and power is that finance is a gun. Politics is knowing when to pull the trigger.

We live in a world where 24/7 media scrutiny and continuous social media attention demand transparency and accountability. The corporate and political worlds have lived in this fishbowl for some time. Now sports bodies face the same challenge: adapt or die.

Sport is about unifying people; it is about hope, commitment, and fulfilment.

If we accept that the status quo is no longer viable, then it makes sense for sports bodies to look to other sectors, such as business and non-profits, for governance lessons.

Communications – to fans, policy-makers, participants, sponsors, employees, and media – must also be a core part of your strategy, reassuring, educating and engaging all those with a role in getting sport back on track.

There needs to be the correct use of social media by players, coaches, fans and administrators. Everyone needs to be accountable for their actions.

Passion drives sport but I don’t believe passion should drive the board room dynamics
We have all seen it and possibly been part of a sporting club or association. We have very passionate people who are very skilled at their day job but they leave their brains at the boardroom door.

They make decisions not in the best interest of the organisation, participants and stakeholders. They are often emotional and passionate decisions made with the heart and not the brain.

Poor governance in sport affects the codes image as well as the sponsors and funders and the members and city who want to be associated with the sport.

To sum it up the importance of good corporate governance in sport is: 
Essential for sport to act ethically and with integrity and with transparency
  1. That it guides the sporting board
  2. Essential for the progress and prosperity
  3. Prevents fraud
  4. It protects the rights of members and sponsors, donors and the governing body along with protecting the long-term objectives of the sporting code.
  5. Limits reputational risk

Remember, lead with your with your brain in the board room and not with your heart.

I can help you with improving your governance www.carmalkconsultingconsulting.com.au | 0400 761 700

Adam Carter | Carmalk Consulting

Chief

M: 0400 761 700

W: (07) 3869 2573

E: info@carmalkconsulting.com.au

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