Friday, March 27, 2015

There is hope for sports


Level Field  

Sport associations have to buck up to be managed by creditable officials, be transparent, administer their association professionally and above have the interest of sports and their athletes at heart.
For far too long now we continuously hear of horror stories of how annual general meetings are conducting, blatantly disregarding the constitution of their respective associations, officials running the association at their whims and fancies and more often than not for their own benefit.
But a recent separate conversation with Olympic Council of Malaysia president with Tunku Tan Sri Imran Tuanku Ja'afar and newly appointed Sports Commissioner of Malaysia, Datuk Zaiton Othman, gave hope that the ills of Malaysian sports especially with the management of associations could well be a thing of the past.
Both spoke about how sports associations have to stand on their own feet and above all be creditable and run their bodies in a professional manner.
Tunku Imran said it is about time that sports associations are held accountable for the ills of their respective sports.
For that to happen, he said the respective sports associations should take full charge of their sports and not depend the government, namely the National Sports Council (NSC) or the National Sports Institute (NSI).
He said that both NSC and ISN are there to supplement the associations and not to do the work of sports associations.
Sports associations have to get rid of the mentality to depend solely on the government to fund their training programmes and in some cases even worse – conduct the programme for them.
He said that the respective sports associations are the experts in their sports and NSC cannot be in charge of all the sports.
Tunku Imran said for associations to start playing the lead role, they have to start managing their associations professionally and for starters start looking or funds to conduct their programmes.
Emphasis on development must be a priority of all associations, he said.
“It will be a long and tireless process to get their act together, but they have to start immediately if they love their respective sports and want to see it do well,” said Tunku to me recently.
Indeed, it is about time the sports associations stop having the dole mentality and be independent and professional.
It is a tall order and probably going to take time to change the scenario, but it has to start somewhere and it must be now.
Zaiton, on the other hand, spoke of sports associations having the right officials to manage their respective sports.
She spoke about officials who have over stayed in the association, run out of ideas or still stay in the associations for their own benefit.
Then she spoke about officials who are not fit to hold office and are a deterrent to the development of the respective sports.
Zaiton spoke about how the Sports Commission wants to play a bigger role by vetting officials who intend to stand for office in sports associations.
“We have had in the past officials who are bankrupt or bad track records helming associations or are key officials,” she said.
Zaiton said that she has already made known of her intention of vetting officials who want to stand for election to the sports minister and he was supportive of the idea.
There is a national association whose technical committee was headed by a Datuk, but he was just a general worker in a school. He was also the honorary secretary at the state association who had never conducted proper Annual General meeting for his association. He was even appointed Technical delegate for the sport at two Malaysia Games and never produced a report at the end of the Games.
Anybody with interest can come forward to assist their respective sports, but they must be knowledgeable and able to perform their duties and not sit in positions because of whom they know.
Clique system in sports associations must be eradicated once and for all.
Many sports officials want to stay in sports associations because of the benefit they like going for trips. Some of these officials do not even know the rules of their own sports. They hardly assist in bringing funds to the association.
It is indeed a crying shame to see many associations do not even know how to conduct a proper annual general meeting and get into trouble when disgruntled affiliates or officials complain to the authorities.
Many associations place high interest on their officials rather than the athletes.
The argument that there will be no officials if there are no athletes or no athletes if there are no officials can go on until the cows come home.
But its common knowledge that they both need each other.
However, it will be benefit the sports better if we have more past sportsmen and women of their respective sports return to their sports to serve as officials. At least these past athletes will have better knowledge of the sports and know what the shortcomings of their respective sports are and address it.
Will this dream situation where sports is managed by people who knowledgeable of the sports manage their associations become a reality soon? It is indeed a million ringgit question because there are officials who will do everything possible for a good thing to happen to sports and put it in the right path because it will jeopardise their stronghold in associations.
But for the love and development of sports in the country, something drastic has to be done to out things right and it must happen now before the rot sinks further in and becomes a cancerous situation. 
TONY MARIADASS is a sports
journalist with more than
three decades of experience
and is passionate about
local sports.
He can be reached at

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