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What is Good for Apia is also good for Savaii!
"O le mea e lelei i Apia, e lelei foi mo Savaii"

Jul 16

Good governance in sports

By Tupuola Terry Tavita

PM at CHOGM, Perth

Because sports – including professional sport – plays such a huge role in youth development and employment generation, the Commonwealth has to play a more proactive role in pushing for good governance in the administration of international sports.

This was urged by Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) yesterday here in Perth.

Internationally, we hear and read frequent media reports of question marks over the governance of various sports bodies including the largest ones in the world,” said Tuilaepa.

Commonwealth countries participate in many of these sports and some are members of these governing bodies. Sports like rugby, cricket and netball to name a few are sports identified with the Commonwealth.”

Given the importance of the development of sports and the opportunities sports provide for young people. I would suggest that as governments, we have a right to be concerned about problems in the governance of sports.

Governments after all often contribute directly to funding specific sports, fund tournaments and provide the sports facilities. I would therefore urge our Commonwealth association to send a strong message to remind national and international sports governing bodies that they must observe and live by the same principles of good governance in the conduct of their affairs required of national governments; including transparency, accountability and representative participation. 


I would go as far as to recommend that if the circumstances warrant, then governments should not shy away from intervening directly to correct governance deficiencies of sporting bodies but in a manner that is fully transparent and with clear objectives to achieve.”

Tuilaepa briefed the meeting on Samoa’s own efforts to solve problems which crop up within sports bodies and debilitates development of that sport.

We have legislated a tribunal to mediate sports bodies’ disputes and to address their governance issues after years of the government being forced to intervene to settle differences that paralyzed these organizations to the detriment of sports and the development of young people.”

The experience, the Prime Minister said, is that sports bodies simply could not solve their own governance problems because of vested interests within.

The scale and depth of deficiencies in governance holding back the development of sports is such that it is no longer acceptable in my view for governments to do nothing and leave sporting bodies to their own devices.

The issue of sports in developing youth, the Prime Minister said, was important to the Commonwealth as half of its combined population is made up of those under 25 years.

The high incidence of unemployment, social marginalization and lack of inclusive political participation in young people, make for a volatile emotional mixture that can easily spark into violent confrontation with the potential to threaten the cohesiveness and foundations of society.

There is no question that the Commonwealth must continue to strongly support efforts and measures that help young people play full and active roles in societies through access to education and employment.

Initiatives and programmes within the Commonwealth to strengthen education both academic and in trades skills must be developed vigorously for the ‘doors’ of empowerment and employment opportunities they open for our young people.

The collective efforts of the Commonwealth and by individual Commonwealth donor members in education have Samoa’s full support, as are the employment opportunities made available through labour mobility initiatives, thoughtfully offered by countries with the capacity to do so.

In pursuing all available avenues to provide opportunities, sports is now undeniably a big industry and employer of successful sportsmen and sportswomen as well as creating many other ancillary jobs in the sector.

However, our experience has been that the development of sports languishes well below its potential to provide opportunities that could be achieved because of governance issues within the various sporting bodies both at the national and international levels.”

This week’s CHOGM meeting has seen a renewed zest among leaders to address youth-specific issues such as youth business development, youth political participation, education and youth and civil society.

Author: Savali
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