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COLUMN – Fair play it is!

in your interestFiltering down from the constitution of a country to civil society organizations, business enterprises, workplaces and sporting bodies, the promotion of fairness is promoted in the rules and regulations that govern their operations and relations.

The promotion of fair play by FIFA, the governing body of world football, is meant to ensure that the basic principle of fairness is enshrined in the conduct of the administration of the sport and in the engagement of play in a competitive environment on the field.

It is for the purpose of ensuring that the fair play is observed on the field that the referee is empowered to award a yellow and/or red card. This is executed based on the nature of the breach of the playing rules.

It is at the level of the administration of the local football association, that the body has the power to enforce sanctions and the authority to ensure that any penalties handed down by the disciplinary committee of FIFA are enforced. Most importantly, it has the responsibility to ensure that the sport is well managed in accordance with FIFA policies, standards, rules, guidelines and procedures.

Where the football association fails in this respect, it means that the executive board or council has to take collective responsibility.

The executive councils of national football associations delegate the responsibility to a management team to prepare the squad which it approves for competition and to select a team for approval by the councils. It must be understood that the executive board or council has the oversight and the final say, by approving or rejecting the team or any team member who has been selected.

It is commonplace that national associations or bodies approve or ratify recommendations made to it by subcommittees.

In the international sport of cricket this is done. The West Indies cricket selectors have to submit the team to the West Indies Cricket Board for approval. The selection committee of the Barbados Cricket Association, in like manner, has to submit the team picked to the board of the Barbados Cricket Association for its approval.

Based on the fact that the buck stops with the national executive committee, council or board in whatever sporting discipline, would the offering of the resignation of the head of that organization not be the honourable thing to do, especially in an instance where there is a fragrant violation of an international standard or rule that is seemingly embarrassing to a nation?

Based on the notion of collective responsibility, would it not be appropriate for the entire executive committee, council or board to resign? Kudos is in order for any member of an administration or management team who considers that to resign his/her post is the ethical and honourable thing to do.

Any mistake that is made by a national association, where the sanction handed down is expulsion, and serves to embarrass a nation, cannot be trivialized as an elementary mistake. Rightly speaking, there are good grounds for an investigation to be carried out. If this is to be done in an objective manner, then the current administration needs to remove itself. It cannot be judge and jury of itself. If this is not a fair process, it is hard to see what is.

In an instance where an organization goes on as if it is business as usual, this raises fundamental questions regarding integrity. For the most part it can lead to the loss of confidence, credibility, respect and trust.

If there is doubt, readers can simply reflect on the main contributing factors that led to an executive council, committee, board, or even a government losing an election, or for its being constantly pressured with a vote of no confidence based on a groundswell of public outcry.

(Dennis De Peiza is labour management consultant to Regional Management Services Inc.Visit the website  Send your comments to

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