As we discuss sports in Jamaica and national governing bodies, I think
it is important to also examine the importance of corporate governance
and the business of sport.
The appointment of the first chief executive officer (CEO) for the
Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) was part of the commitment of the new
board upon taking office in 2017.
That in and of itself was not the commitment, but there was talk of a
complete restructuring of JOA operations. President Christopher Samuda,
while campaigning and upon taking up office, pledged to create a new
“corporate governance structure” as part of what he described as a
“pathway to success model” for sports. While he has explained it, it was
still unclear, at the time, how it would be manifested. In fact, with
the exception of the Special Olympics, through its executive director
and the Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA) with the employment of a CEO
and management team, there has been harsh criticism of the governance
structure of local sports, which many believe contributes to wastage and
us not being able to be as productive as we can be.
In a previous column, I examined the increased funding contribution the
JOA has been making to national sporting bodies; however, it is this
new structure that has also been impressive, creating a business model
that is attracting many sponsors and donors. So far, the CEO has been
appointed to lead the restructuring exercise as well as garner funds for
the development of sports. He gets his operational support from a group
of professionals employed to help build the organisation – a business
development manager, an information technology specialist, an office
manager, communications specialist, and importantly, a member relations
manager. This is very crucial. In fact, my view is that if these newly
employed staff can work closely with the various stakeholders, then it
augurs well for sports development in Jamaica.
The hope is that a move like this will not just help with funding, but also, assisting the governance of sports, as well as the development of athletes, coaches, and importantly, sport administrators in Jamaica. It may seem simple, but for years, we’ve been clamouring for a new direction, not just for JOA, but for all the national sporting organisations, in terms of corporate governance structures and the operations of all relevant bodies.