Our Readers' Opinions
July 2, 2021
Radical change needed in culture of football governance

The role of the General Secretary of the SVGFF[St Vincent and the Grenadines Football Federation] is to support the Chair who is normally the President, in ensuring the smooth functioning of the SVGFF Executive Committee.

In summary, the General Secretary is responsible for:

1.     Ensuring meetings are effectively organised and minuted.

2.     Maintaining effective records and administration.

3.     Upholding the legal requirements of governing documents, charity law, company law etc. (where relevant).

4.     Communication and correspondence.

5.     Moreover, reply to emails and correspondence from the affiliates.

It is important to note that although the General Secretary ensures that these responsibilities are met, much of the work may be delegated to paid staff within the SVGFF, or volunteers.

Given these responsibilities, the General Secretary often acts as an information and reference point for the President and other committee members: clarifying past practice and decisions; confirming legal requirements; and retrieving relevant documentation.

The General Secretary himself will carry out all these duties and may take a greater role in the day-to-day administration of the organisation.  This can become a time-consuming role; however, other Member Associations, based on my experience, share some of the administrative responsibilities to other executive members within the organisation to reduce the burden.

Qualities needed by the SVGFF

A good General Secretary has various qualities – both hard and soft skills, that help him succeed in his role. These qualities can be learned and developed with a little bit of dedication. Here are the main qualities I think the present SVGFF is in urgent need of to mend the relationship between the affiliates and other stakeholders.

  •  Organizational skills: a strong ability to be organised, keep a clear head and keep track of everything, from deadlines to essential files.
  • Professional communication skills: clear and friendly communication, along with a personable phone manner.
  • Initiative and drive: the ability to take the initiative, work independently and seek out new opportunities.
  •  Honesty and discretion: A General Secretary often handles expenses, petty cash and other sensitive topics, it is important that employers can trust a secretary fully.
  •  Time-management skills: Working on several projects means a lot of multitasking. This requires the ability to manage your own time and ensure that you can deliver on timelines.
  •       Being a team player: Better if you have a flair for championing a teamwork ethic and fostering teamwork within a team.
  •       Remaining calm under pressure: an ability to cope with stress, deadlines and multitasking, often dealing with several stakeholders at once.
  •       Professionalism: a skill needed for dealing with internal and external stakeholders.
  •       Project management skills: skilled at managing all the moving parts of any given project.

Finally, too little money harms SVG football, too much is killing it. We need to prevent football in SVG from self-destructing. Football, and sport in general, must be a vehicle for the transmission of our common values and contribute to their protection. A radical change in the culture of football governance at the General Secretary position is needed, so that it is firmly based on respect for affiliates rights, internal democracy and participation, transparency and responsibility, compliance with the highest ethical values, solidarity and concern for the common good.

In order for football to uphold these values, the conduct of everyone involved must be beyond reproach, especially when it comes to the General Secretary position. Football cannot be a lawless zone; the independence of supervisory bodies and accountability must be effectively ensured.

Dominique Stowe