Speid new volleyball association president
Leighton Levy, Gleaner Writer
As best he can, Rudolph Speid plans to professionalise, modernise and later commercialise the sport of volleyball in Jamaica.
Speid, the immediate past president of the Kingston and St Andrew Football Association (KSAFA) and coach of Red Stripe Premier League football team Cavalier FC, was on Monday night elected unopposed as the new president of the Jamaica Volleyball Association (JAVA) during its annual general meeting (AGM) at the offices of the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA).
To get the ball rolling, however, Speid said his first order of business is housekeeping as he intends to bring unity to the organisation by first getting its financial house in order and then setting about growing the sport across the island.
"We need to produce our financial statements and bring clarity to certain issues and the unity will come," said the new president, who has the support of both past presidents of the association.
"We are going to need good corporate governance, so we are going to work on that."
He said it was imperative that JaVA be registered as a limited-liability company to better position the association to do business with other organisations and to protect the sport's administrators.
Among other issue, the new president plans to address is acquiring a home for the association, which will help address issues such as providing a base for players who travel from rural Jamaica to Kingston to train. Negotiations have already begun in that regard.
The new president lauded the growth of the sport at the primary level, as there are an estimated 100 schools ready to participate in the national championship eliminations set for the end of the month, which runs through until December. The growth, he said, is a good foundation on which to build.
revitalising parish associations
Also, among the low-hanging fruit that the new president intends to reap is the revitalisation of parish associations, pointing out that until volleyball expands into club and age-group competitions, it will not achieve the status of being a major sport.
Speid believes he can get some of those associations going, within the next three months. It will take a little longer to get volley leagues going, as without them there will be no growth for the sport, which is seeking to compete for scarce sponsorship dollars.
At the AGM, he underscored the importance of holding the premier competitions in the sport - volleyball and beach volleyball - each year, regardless of the challenges. He mentioned the attractiveness of beach volleyball globally and promised to capitalise on the sport's global appeal. It is against this background that he believes he can make volleyball one of the most popular sports in Jamaica.
Speid ran the KSAFA for the past six years and also served as treasurer for the organisation. During his time as president, he brokered the largest ever sponsorship deal for the association when he inked a deal believed to be worth close to J$200 million with telecommunications company Claro.