Aim to be the best

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 London 2012.

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 success.

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 comparison.

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. 

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' magazine about the current state of governance in the sports sector and why he believes it is inadequate.

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