Sports Governence - No Idle Threat
Posted: Wed, 19 Jul 2017 19:49
Shockwaves are being felt through publicly funded sports NGBs this week after Table Tennis lost its Sport England funding last week as a consequence of not being able to meet the requirements of the new Governance Code.
Already Cycling and Volleyball bosses have sent out clear messages that their sports could be the next to suffer a loss of public funding if reforms are not passed at AGMs in the coming days. Bob Howden the President of Cycling has already warned members they stand to lose £43m of funding if changes are not passed.
The new governance code has become a key plank of the Sports Minister policy reforms. Initially the target for DCMS was the FA but other sports have been included in the new Code which must be met in full by the end of October.
What we are seeing however, is a battle for the future of some sports governing bodies. We have seen many of the old guard defend their rights to choose how their sport is governed even if it means losing £millions in public funding. At the Sports Think Tank we have supported the need for Good Governance and initially welcomed the commitment from Sport England and UK Sport to introduce the Code. However, there has been a great deal of disquiet in the sector, even from those who back the need for change and shift to much better governance practise. The requirements and tick box mentality have upset many in the sector who have contacted us. A series of mixed messages and lack of clarity have caused some problems amongst NGBs. There is also now a battle from those who many would describe as traditionalists within individual sports over their right to choose the number of independents on boards and term limits for example. Many see these as attacks on their right to self govern their own sports from a grassroots perspective. It may be easy to dismiss these concerns as those trying to cling onto power but we will need to assess more carefully if there are genuine issues that have caused this rift and the level of negative response from a vocal minority. We will certainly be looking to see if this could have been handled better by Sport England or the Governing Bodies and Boards.
But we would like to hear from you. Are you a Board or Council member with concerns? Are you a local volunteer who feels 'their sport' is being taken away from their control. Perhaps you are a Board Chair who knows these reforms are necessary but have been concerned about the way your NGB has been treated. Hopefully all these things are teething troubles for the sector but we hope to find out more over the next couple of months and report back to you!