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Good governance is the key! Interview with Sylvia Schenk


Good governance is the key!

Interview with Sylvia Schenk, Senior advisor for sport, Transparency International.

Why did Transparency get involved in the Good Governance in Grassroots Sport Project?

SS: "We have worked at tackling corruption in sport for a number of years. Our work is most visible in the elite sport sector but, we have also worked in grass root sport. When we were invited to be part of the good governance project ISCA is running, we thought it was a fantastic opportunity to have a direct impact at a grass root level. The high profile cases within elite sport have made it a visible issue to be addressed and there is momentum building to address widespread corruption. At the grassroots end of sport, there is limited awareness of corruption, what it is and how to address it. Therefore this project offers a vehicle to spread Transparency’s message and to offer practical advice and solutions to tackle every day issues within Sport for All clubs.

The contribution sport can give to society would be stronger and more effective if sport was organised in a more open, clear and structured way”

Do you see any challenges with the project?

SS: "During the first meeting with project partners I became aware of the lack of understanding of what good governance is. There was a perception that it related only to activities within large scale corporations and organisations. This basic lack of awareness and understanding has changed has shaped my involvement and has challenged me to ensure that my messaging during the meetings and trainings is fully understood and relevant to the participants.

There are a lot of issues within grassroots sport but corruption is one that is not being thought about in its broadest sense, it hasn’t reached Sport for All organisations consciousness yet. This is the biggest challenge as it is a fundamental to integrity.

The next challenge will be to spread the message through the project partners to raise awareness, improve understanding and create momentum towards positive change.  There needs to be political buy in to improve the governance landscape within Grass root sport as well as a desire from the organisations to want to improve and set up governance structures which allow for open and transparent decisions and communications."

How do you think the message can be spread effectively?

SS: "There is not just one way of spreading the message and there needs to be a multitude of methods. But there are some effective channels which ISCA and the project should use. The project partners will make fantastic ambassadors to promote the messaging of good governance. They need to be ready and willing to champion the messages with their networks and partners.

The messages promoting good governance and what it involves need to become more mainstream and accessible. This could start to be achieved through producing short, concise publications explaining issues challenges and potential solutions. Trade press and media partners also could be provided with thought provoking articles tailored to current political and societal issues."

Final thoughts?

SS: "ISCA is making good progress with the project. There have been some clear developments within the group in regards to the level of awareness and understanding of good governance. It is important to maintain this momentum beyond the project’s lifespan."

Posted on 17/12/2012 by


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