Thursday, August 10, 2006

The sour taste of failure (August 2006 - Malaysian Today)

The sour taste of failure

TRANSPARENCY and accountability are two musts in Malaysian sports, if it is move to the next level to excel in international field with a fair amount of success.

For as long as sports associations try to sweep issues under the carpet or fail to reveal findings to the taxpayers, who have every right to know what went right or wrong, Malaysian sports is not going to take the forward step.

For as long as sports associations wants to protect certain officials, coaches or players and are afraid to reveal the truth, they will continue to stay in the doldrums because they are going to make the same mistake the next time around.

For as long as sports associations look for excuses for their failure and start pointing fingers, except accept the responsibility of failure by themselves, they will continue to pass the buck to someone else to take the wrath for them.

It has happened many a time in the past and it has happened again after the recent World Cup qualifiers in China.

A special committee headed by the Malaysian Hockey Federation(MHF) deputy president, Admiral Tan Sri Mohd Anwar Mohd Nor, Disciplinary Board chairman, Datuk Ho Ko Chye and independent member Datuk R. Yogeswaran, was set up by MHF to come up with comprehensive report on the team’s failure in China.

A comprehensive report they certainly came up, but the full report was not presented at the MHF Council, but was only privy to the MHF executive committee only.

It was the MHF executive committee’s decision that the full detailed report will not be circulated to the MHF Council who met Aug 5.

A summarised version of the report prepared for the Council, which was actually a calendar for events of whom the special committee interviewed and when and some selected recommendations from the detailed report.

It is learnt that the detailed report had more “meat” and several personalities were taken to task.

The media too were not given the detailed report, but the summarised version only.

When things are hid, it is only naturally that sports journalists want to get to the bottom of the matter and try all means to get the full report. This would mean talking to officials and therein lies the danger because some of them may not be fully aware of the detailed reports, but with the little knowledge they know normally through hearsay, they interpret it to their understanding.

And in the end all sorts of versions come up and only confuse the matter further.

One of the issue which has come up out of this report is that apparently some blame was directed to the National Sports Council (NSC) for meddling with the affairs of MHF.

Whether this is true or not, that it was part of the report, the fact that it has surfaced, has got NSC all upset because they certainly did interfere with the workings of MHF.

Whatever assistance, mainly support service, was given to MHF, was at the latter’s request and also after joint discussions and agreed upon by both parties.

To now point the accusing finger at NSC is indeed merely looking for a scapegoat.

And NSC will certainly not tolerate such irresponsibility. Afterall, it is NSC who has been the financier and to bite the hand that feeds, is indeed souring relations and may even lead to a rethink of funds being granted in future.

NSC will definitely get to the bottom of it, if it surfaces through the proper channel.

There were times not so long ago when sports associations managed themselves and did well too.

But of late, they have become over dependent on funds from the government to conduct their activities.

Sponsors who have in the past come out readily in support of sports associations’ programmes and even have been partners, have shied away because they did not get the mileage promised to them or there was no transparency to show how the sponsorship money was spent. In some cases, sponsors were totally left out of the picture once the funds had already come in.

And that is what the Youth and Sports Minister, Datuk Azalina Othman Said, herself has been speaking out lately - emphasising on Key Performance Indicators (KPI) for events and sports associations.

At the rate unfavorable reports are surfacing with sports associations who get assistance from the Government, a review might be in order and if sports associations get less in future or even none, they have only to blame themselves.

The Sports Ministry and NSC, too have to be accountable because they cannot go on supporting sports associations, if results are not fort coming.

Sports Associations had better start putting on their thinking caps and start operating like corporations or do the honorable thing by allowing professionals to run the associations.

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