Sport bodies should act like businesses
THE EDITOR, Sir:
I am writing in response to Oral Tracey's article published on Tuesday, titled 'No additional support for athletes'. I think we are missing a piece of the argument.
I certainly respect Mr Tracey's opinion on the matter and won't resort to calling him any of the names he mentioned in his article. I do, however, believe that those who are not able to make ends meet on their own should be able to receive support under strict guidance, with the Government providing some financial support.
The implementation of an insurance scheme for national representatives across a wide range of sports will be a start, but this is only a temporary solution.
The Government's more lasting involvement should be the development of a coherent framework for our sporting entities to work within through the development of a thorough, well-detailed sports policy.
The current White Paper on the National Sports Policy was tabled two years ago but does not spell out specifically what the plan of action for sports in Jamaica is, which means we are most likely not operating in the efficient manner required of a sports 'industry', which the Government claims to be pursuing.
There are many countries that provide specific extra assistance to athletes within their sporting frameworks, but this is given under strictly defined criteria and dealt with expediently and professionally, with high scrutiny. Is it not possible to develop a system that a country of our size could find sustainable?
I also believe that the focus on the Government to provide the financial support takes some of the spotlight, and pressure, off the sporting associations, which are responsible for the promotion, development and support of their defined sport in the country. These goals could be ably aided if organisations adopted more business-like procedures in order to maximise the available revenue streams.
With better strategic planning, the JAAA could increase the level of support it can afford to give to the senior national representatives under its purview AND further develop the sport at the age-group levels, as Mr Tracey believes should be the focus.
Mr Tracey, the athletes should be able to get extra support if they demonstrate that they fit certain criteria and parties at all levels are held accountable for the efficient use of the funds. Sports can be a powerful tool for marketing the country, and these role models can play roles in social development, not to mention the other benefits sports can provide.
Prime Time Sports Management