Mon | Jan 21, 2019

Paul Wright | Being persuasive, believable, credible and truthful

Published:Tuesday | August 7, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Omar Thompson of Kingston College and Nickjay White (right) of St Elizabeth Technical High School battle during the ISSA/FLOW Super Cup final at Sabina Park on Saturday, November 25, 2017.

All of the sporting Organisations in Jamaica consistently complain of the lack of sponsors, as they organise competitions and development programmes in their respective disciplines. As a result, it is common to see representatives of these groups pleading with Corporate Jamaica and individuals to contribute to an event or programme. As I hear and read these entreaties, I am reminded of a quote that I am paraphrasing to emphasise a point. "To be persuasive you must be believable. To be believable, you must be credible. To be credible, you must be truthful."

Sponsors who agree to finance a sport, or a competition, or a development programme in any sport, spend their money in the hope of a return, either in goodwill for their product, or increased sales, increased media presence, and of course to make the country better. However, sponsors do get nervous, if after committing funds and expertise, they notice, or have reason to believe that the money is not going to the areas of the sport that the sponsor had targeted for assistance in the first place.

Sponsors love transparency and forthrightness when a request is made of the recipient sport. As I understand it, "blanket funds" are supposed to be used according to verbal (contractual) agreements. If a sponsor becomes aware of cavalier spending of these funds, then the quote at the beginning of this article becomes moot.

The withdrawal, or refusal to re-sign another contract to support schoolboy football by FLOW is now a fact. Their unease has been the subject of whispers by journalists and fans of sports ever since the beginning of this year when negotiations began for the continuation of a $200 million package over the past five years. This association between the controlling body of school sports in Jamaica, ISSA, and sponsors FLOW, resulted in many innovations and most importantly for the country, improvement in the quality of the football on show.

The FLOW Super Cup, and the excitement generated by this competition of the best teams of the Manning and daCosta Cup competitions guaranteed bumper crowds and a level of excitement rarely seen in school competitions. All that has ended, even after six to eight months of intense negotiations. So far, there is very little in the public domain as to what could have been the sticking point that caused the negotiations to be terminated without consensus. Leaked information suggests that ISSA wanted more money (another $10 million annually) and the sponsors agreed, IF the recipient group agrees to provide a budget indicating where and how much money would be spent on the different aspects of producing schoolboy football competitions.

To persuade a sponsor, one must be believable. To be believable one must be credible. To be credible one must be truthful. The sponsor could not be persuaded, and so the sponsorship came to an end. The press reports that ISSA is in new negotiations with interested parties in an effort to sponsor this year's competitions and an announcement will soon be made. As the date for commencement of the schoolboy football competitions approaches, fans are getting visibly nervous as to the type of competitions that will make this year of schoolboy football as memorable as the previous five years with sponsorship from FLOW. Let us hope that ISSA can be persuasive in these negotiations.

Bangladesh, ranked above the Windies in world cricket, defeated us in the three match Twenty20 (T20) series. They came back from losing the first match, to winning the final two games. That hurts. We (the Windies) are supposed to be the best, in this form of cricket. We are previous World Champions! Critics of our discouraging display in Test and one-day international matches consistently portray our selectees of a T20 mentality and inability to concentrate for long periods, suggesting that the "ram-bam" of T20 is where our expertise lies! Well, Bangladesh has put that theory to bed. We are just not good enough to beat Bangladesh at T20 cricket! Is this defeat the wake-up call that the fans of the region needs to finally INSIST on drastic changes in how the game of cricket in the region is administered and teams selected? I hope so. Rise up Windies cricket fans! How much more can we take? As a limbo dancer on the North Coast says "how low can we go?"