Sun | Nov 18, 2018

Paul Wright | Democracy, schemocracy!

Published:Tuesday | May 8, 2018 | 12:00 AMDr Paul Wright
In this file photo from March 27, 2016, Afghanistan's Samiullah Shenwari runs to celebrate after running out Windies' Andre Russell (on ground) during their ICC World Twenty20 cricket match in Nagpur, India. The Afghans beat the Windies by six runs.

 

The administration of sports in Jamaica is a serious job. Whenever a vacancy for the post of leader in cricket, football, or netball, comes up, there is usually a well-documented fight for the position of top administrator.

However, it is universally accepted that whatever the length of time of the reign, these leaders are supposed to improve the status of the sport, not only in ranking, but also in overall development of the participants in the particular sport. In most countries, failure to do any of the above results in either resignation or dismissal.

Here in Jamaica, the opposite occurs. When exposed to the trappings and benefits of being president, our sport administrators, find scapegoats and other bizarre reasons to stay in place, even though the sport spirals down to irrelevancy. In a recent radio interview, sports administrator par excellence, the Honourable Mike Fennel, revealed that in the Olympic movement there is a concerted effort to train these administrators/leaders, as the movement recognises that these positions require particular skills, and is not only left to those who can garner enough votes to the position at election time.

 

SUPPORT LOW

 

In cricket and football, the method of selecting/electing a leader, seems to be skewered in favour of a few, who pay scant regard to the wishes of the majority of those whose financial support guarantee the very survival of the sport. It is now irrefutable that spectator/fan support for the game is at an all-time low. The ranking of the one-time indisputable kings of world cricket, the Windies, has now descended to the level where we have to play against the so-called minnows of the sport in order to qualify to be a part of major competitions. Which means that the Windies are now minnows. A reasonable supporter of the game could not be faulted for thinking that there would be a major change in the way the sport is run, since the results reveal that the method utilised by the administration is WRONG and has to be changed. The old time-honoured statement that opines that if one keeps doing the same thing and expects a different result, then medical intervention becomes mandatory ("Yuh mad!").

In our cricket reality, no change. The same losers continue to voice optimism and promise victory after victory. Not even the defeat of the Windies by Afghanistan, a war torn country led by a West Indian reject, whose tenure in the region was terminated ostensibly because he supported players over administrators resulted in change. Not even a united call from the political leaders of the island territories who constitute the region, could cause a temporary halt in the downward spiral of the team in world rankings.

Similarly in football. The forced utilisation of a local coach, who has proved to be a major success, utilising locally based players, instead of foreign based "Jamaicans" of dubious skills, could not find unflagging support from an administration seemingly bereft of ideas necessary to continue to upward trajectory that the local coach and players have begun.

It was only after a "resignation" and public outcry that a major crisis was averted. When no reasonable promise of financial support was forthcoming, it was the Minister of Sports who literally saved the day.

 

ELECTION TIME

 

So, the next step by the local administrators was to try to sideline the best-run local football clubs in favour of another set of teams whose leaders have shown absolutely no ability to produce anything resembling good football, except, wait for it, except, the support of these leaders/administrators when election time comes around in less than a years' time. Democracy, schemocracy!

There will be, this week, an RJRGleaner Communications Group sponsored town hall meeting featuring some of the best minds in local football. There is an opportunity for members of the public and fans to participate by posting comments and questions via a social media platform of The Gleaner. Join them. Your participation is vital.