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Champs' ticket distribution under the microscope

Published:Tuesday | March 31, 2015 | 12:00 AMLaurie Foster

This week's column was intended to ask a few questions of the sponsors of national sporting events.

This is against the background of widespread speculation as to the presence of corrupt practices in the distribution of tickets for what carries the label 'the most prestigious high school track and field meet the world has known' - Champs.

Expressions of disgust, frustration and clear evidence of favouritism or even spite - all affecting would be patrons - are rife.

It has become clear that the organisers, the Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA), have been incompetent.

Their attitude is producing absolute mayhem and mass disapproval in the acquisition of tickets and access to the venue.

An interview during Champs coverage on local television turned today's intended column 'on its head'.

It sparked a rewrite.


Title sponsor



CEO concerned


No less a person than the chief executive officer (CEO) of the GraceKennedy conglomerate, Don Wehby, made a stunning remark.

It told a story of discomfort with the sale of tickets and put thoughts of questionable manoeuvres by ISSA personnel in the minds of the public.

Wehby, a former Champs gold medallist in the sprint hurdles and known to all as a very astute and able businessman (add bright to that), spoke to niggling doubts he had about the "transparency" in the sale of tickets.

The revelation is frightening, as it follows a hesitation (being kind here) about a requested interview to another Grace executive intimately involved in Champs.

The step aside came on the grounds of "we have nothing to do with Champs tickets, I don't know what value we can add", while placing the burden of explanation on ISSA.

Clearly, The GraceKennedy chief holds a different view. Or is it that the newly aroused sponsor interest in ticket sales is triggered by ISSA's ineptitude?

Oh, what a tangled web is being revealed by these principals?

Or then, why would a sponsoring CEO be meddling into something that - as stated by his junior colleague - is basically not the sponsor's role.

He is obviously concerned about his organisation's.

From the CEO's show of concern, ISSA's competence is being questioned by the man who signs the cheque giving them the funds which, in their own words, runs scholastic sports. The knees of the ISSA tin gods must be wobbling.

There is a sustained stench surrounding what could be perceived as an ISSA-orchestrated sale of tickets.

Bring on the investigation, Mr Wehby. Only then will the public know the true story as it pertains to Champs tickets sales.

Space permits only one of the questions previously stated to be asked of sponsors.

Can the sport in which you invest your shareholders' funds become tainted to the extent that the support is withdrawn to protect the brand?

The rules of drug control in sport stipulate that if an athlete tests positive for a banned substance, he or she is withdrawn from competition and a probe commences.

With an obviously soiled product to which their name is aligned, certain sponsors are known to 'pull the plug' on their investment, at least until their client is proven to be free of guilt.

Should not sponsors of events which develop a bad odour do likewise?

Think on these things while awaiting the impending Wehby probe.

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