The major challenge for sport both nationally and
internationally is governance. Internationally this has been seen
very clearly: at Salt Lake City, the International Olympic
Committee, Formula One and, more recently, FIFA and the
International Association of Athletics Federations.
The common denominator of all those major problems was weak
governance. The biggest challenge that sport faces this century is
putting in place highly professional governance that supports the
interests of sportsmen and women.
The job of any governing body, first and foremost, is to put in
place the support mechanisms to ensure that its athletes have the
best opportunity to deliver their personal best on the day.
When I came into the British Olympic Association our performance
as a team had been mediocre. Thanks to the likes of Sir Clive
Woodward, we moved up the medals table to taking third place in
That was because of a completely professional attention to
detail; the philosophy of marginal gains; a total reliance on high
performance, professional management, accountability and
transparency with the athletes in everything we did.
It was a professional team effort. It could not be done in a
couple of years. It took us seven years from Beijing to London 2012
to deliver success. Clive Woodward personified this approach and he
and his performance team were instrumental in Britain's
There is no difference between that approach and Exxon wanting
to be best in the oil and gas business worldwide, or British
Aerospace delivering market leading technology in its sector.
The combination of quality management, a highly professional
approach and good governance provides the framework necessary to
deliver your objectives and KPIs. In the context of a sporting
body, the aim must be to be the best in the world.
The future of sport is bleak without good governance. The
extraordinary opportunities that sport can deliver can only be
achieved if, and only if, the quality of management and the right
procedures and policies are in place.
This means the eradication of conflicts of interest, first-rate
management, complete transparency and a new level of accountability
which will make today's governance look Victorian by
Lord Moynihan is former Chairman of the British Olympic
Association, was Cox for the GB Rowing Team for six years, a
silver-medal Olympian and gold and silver medal winner at the World
Rowing Championships. He spoke to Governance and Compliance about
the current state of governance in the sports sector and why he
believes it is inadequate. To read the full interview click here.
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