How to strengthen local level sports organisations
Lourembam Ibetombi Devi *
It is beyond doubt that there is a necessity of having various sports organisations for promoting sports right from International Olympic Committee (IOC) to international federations, national federations, state associations down to local clubs at grassroot level. These are the institutions which make a sports discipline prosper or decline.
These institutions need a base of dedicated people to run them and to make them function, after all, a society is an organised group of people associated for some specific purpose or on account of one or some common interests. This is true not only for the state level and national level institutions, but is required most at grassroots level, local clubs which is the place where a great player is made.
For the health of the institution, a volunteer base and a resource base is a must, stronger these bases, stronger is the institution or the club. Stronger the institution, stronger will be the performance of the players. Today, let me tell you a few issues which normally weakens a sports institution.
Institutions are very important, they are the platforms from where sportspersons can perform or deliver. Unless we have a strong institution, it shall be difficult to carry on the works. Individuals who man such institutions and their capability are also important, but more important are the strength of the institution, that is the system. Our motto should be institution first, not the individual first. We always tend to put some individuals over the institution.
Glorification, hero worship or individual centric is part of our habit, which leads to weakening of the institution and the systems. This is a common case in India. We remember the IOC blacklisting our national body for not following democratic norms during Winter Olympics last year. A few years back, we had serious problem of one international federation derecognising one of our national federation on the same ground.
Within the framework of Society’s Registration Act, it is a common norm that the office bearers can hold office for two consecutive terms only, he can come back after a gap of one term. It is the common norm and an important structure. This again is reflected in all the bye laws of the clubs, associations and federations. However, the same gets altered in some cases by the incumbents and the same goes against the spirit of the society’s registration laws.
When a chairperson or secretary holds office for three consecutive terms or more, it suppresses the potential chairpersons, secretaries and if it extends to fifteen or twenty years, it is as good as destroying a generation of potential and probable sports managers. So, an institution should not go for any single individual, we should never place individuals over institutions.
But, to be frank, we have seen many individuals who hold the office for more than three or four consecutive terms, say for ten or fifteen years, sometimes over twenty years. It is true that unwilling individuals should not be office bearers, but if there are enough number of volunteers and supporters, any sports lover can become a secretary or the president. This way, a base can be built up and shall be much better than one individual usurping the powers for years together.
When an individual tries to continue in office for fifteen or twenty years, it is not due to his capability or dedication, but it is due to fame and may be the power being attached to the post. Such people generally have ulterior motive or are normally dictatorial. They are usually overambitious. This is highly harmful to the institution.
Unfortunately, we have seen many such persons at state and national levels. If such people hold office, they will never be ready to quit when the term is over. So, we have seen a number of dramas in national and state level institutions for holding of office beyond the terms. Sometimes, some of the office bearers simply refuse to relinquish office after the term is over and try to remain in the office by any means and thus the sports organisers have earned a lot of bad names.
In many cases, they incumbents refused to vacate because, there are a lot of money or he has not done his accounting well and he is apprehensive. I am of the opinion that such attitudes are extremely detrimental for the sports movement in the country.
So, it is very important for an institution to follow the democratic process (not allow manipulations) and regularly elect the office bearers following the democratic process and provisions of bye laws. This is a cardinal principle which should never be compromised. The sports organisations are different from the government departments.
It is easy to manipulate such election process and hence we need to study the integrity of the incumbents initially before they are given the elbow room, otherwise, the fame hungry people will try to chuck out the other members to suit their designs.
The principles of organisation in sports are to get cooperation, coordination and resource mobilisation in a democratic manner sharing the responsibility. I firmly believe that if the accounting of an institution is transparent, people will repose their faith and there shall not be serious dearth of fund. Here the individuals manning the organisations are collectively important.
One or a few man doing everything, taking decisions alone (may be the best decision), and financing from individual pocket is like slow killing of the organisation, it cannot be called a good practice. They are neither good for the stability of the institution nor for the sports movement.
* Lourembam Ibetombi Devi wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The writer can be reached at ibetombi1961(at)gmail(dot)com
This article was posted on October 08, 2014.
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