Editor: It is important that football Leagues throughout St Vincent and the Grenadines understand the context in which [they] operate.
A well-structured league will have a constitution which should be followed by the executive committee, and all teams affiliated should be given a copy of it.
A league would have the following, the two mentioned below are the most important ones.
• Rules / Articles of Association – the governing document of the league.
• Election rules – Outlining the process of how members can be elected to serve on the committee.
On joining the committee each member should have a copy of each and read them to ensure they understand how the league works, and recognise their role in guiding decision making.
They are designed to help both the committee and the teams affiliated, giving direction and clarity in how certain decisions should be considered.
No one is expecting you to know all the rules. The important thing is you acknowledge and refer to them when decisions need to be made.
Rules and regulations should be regularly reviewed by the executives to ensure that they remain suitable for the needs of the league and reflect the responsibilities of the executive committee.
The chair should ensure that the meeting keeps to time, although all board members have a responsibility to ensure that the meeting operates effectively.
The chair should allow all board members equal opportunity to speak on each item and encourage them to participate fully.
Transparency Make the Running of a league a Spectator Sport!
Transparency is operating in such a way that it is easy for others to see what actions are performed. This means being open in the way that the league operates through providing information about the Board’s strategic priorities and by reporting regularly to members on those priorities as well as financial performance and social goals.
A good ambition for the Board is to widen the understanding to the membership and wider community of how the league operates, hence the phrase ‘making the running of a league a spectator sport’.
Get it right and you can go some way to managing expectations of supporters, encouraging active participation, and growing trust by demonstrating accountability to the members.
A simple starting point is making sure that communication to members [is] regular and informative, with any formal notifications or consultation given the adequate time.
Taking things a step further would be more frequent reports, surveys or open meetings with the membership to discuss progress against measurable objectives, thus ensuring the club isn’t just a one way communication channel.
It can be difficult at times in the face of criticism (particularly unwarranted!) but the tone of communication to members is critically important. For the Board to stop an ‘us’ and ‘them’ culture it is vital to bring members along with the work that is being done.
Where to Draw the Line
Whilst transparency is important, the Board does need to ensure that it does not compromise the effective operation of the league.
There will be times when, for example, commercially sensitive items or topics of a personal nature are being considered, and it would not be sensible or appropriate to share the information more widely. That is why I recommend that the Board publishes a report (or summary) rather than full detailed minutes.
Having an awareness of issues that are significant enough to require extra consultation and involvement of members is important (where practical and possible).
Is Money Ruining “Our” Beautiful Game of Football?
There have been many reasons about why there has been so much backlash to many presidents or caretakers of Football Leagues for almost 10 years, but the overwhelming issues are that the competition is elitist and exclusionary, removing healthy competition, and that the caretaker involved seem to be more fuelled by financial reasons than by a genuine love of the game.
At the other end of the scale, you have the clubs who are almost unable to operate due to financial constraints that they simply cannot set themselves free from.
In the case of some leagues this is down to poor management at executive level.
As I said, the arguments are compelling, and everyone will have a different view. Money may well be ruining football, but in some cases, the blame lies with the clubs and the leagues themselves.
Football could be a victim of its own success and popularity.
However, while football continues to be the most popular sport on the planet [in] St Vincent and the Grenadines there will always be a market for it. And where there is a global market for something, there will always be money.
For the foreseeable future, money in football is here to stay.