• Monday, December 04, 2023
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The place of trust in Sports Governance

The place of trust in Sports Governance


According to Fusi Akinkugbe when people have a high degree of trust in their government’s officials, they will be more likely to cooperate and comply with the government’s policies and proposals, because trust in government through its officials incentivises people to do the right thing.

When there is no trust or the trust is low, people are less likely to co-operate with the government, which manifests in their having objectives and taking actions that are divergent from government’s.

When there is distrust, governance becomes difficult because the people as necessary partners in governance, are not fully on board to work and cooperate with government in whatever it seeks to achieve. Government officials do not behave right but expect the citizens to offer full cooperation and one wonders how this should work.

This problem is across all strata of government in Nigeria especially the sports ministry. I guess you would by now know I shall be discussing the misunderstanding between the Nigeria Football Federation NFF and Nigeria’s most successful football team, The Super Falcons

The overwhelming absence of trust in actors in the political and government space presents the people themselves with the opportunity to begin to seek changes through the power that they have. It also creates a charge for others who can be credible in this space to step forward as viable alternatives to those who are currently there. If people in politics and public governance want to be trusted, they must have ability as well as character. For government institutions to be trusted, they must show themselves trustworthy

Bad press when trust is missing:

Global players union’ FIFPRO have released a statement on behalf of the Nigeria Women’s National team confirming they will assist the players in an ongoing dispute with their Football Federation.

The Super Falcons were one of many teams to impress at this summer’s FIFA Women’s World Cup as they progressed from a difficult group involving co-hosts Australia, Olympic Champions Canada and debutants the Republic of Ireland to reach the knockout stages nobody expected the ladies to go this far. In doing so, they held Canada to a 0-0 draw and beat the Matildas 3-2 in front of their home fans and supporters.

Their World Cup journey came to a heart breaking end as they succumbed to a 4-2 loss against England on penalties.
Nigeria shut out the European Champions across 120 minutes of action and were the better team for large spells. Following their tournament exit, attention now returns to the ongoing dispute with the federation surrounding pay, some of which dates back to 2021. Manager Randy Waldrum revealed in a podcast before the World Cup that he’s owed seven months’ wages and some players in the squad haven’t been paid in two years. The ladies have on my occasion call out the NFF but the federation seems immuned to all these pressures and would do what it wants to do
The NFF have lost the trust of it’s stakeholders and the consequence is the current show of shame involving its and the players and their federation.

The storm in the tea cup

The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has dismissed as nothing more than a storm in a tea cup, a statement issued by the world body of professional footballers, FIFPRO calling on the Federation to pay players of the Super Falcons what they are owed.

The NFF also charged FIFPRO to stop playing the ostrich and stand up to its real responsibilities, calling on the body to address the real issues. The Federation revealed that after all these years, FIFPRO does not have an affiliate body in Nigeria. It challenged the body to come to Nigeria and set up an affiliate body that can always and legitimately speak on behalf of players. By this statement we can conclude that this NFF is avoiding the issues and attempting to divert our attention from the lack of trust in their behaviour and payment of the outstanding allowances.
Is it possible that we are getting this wrong and only the federation is seeing this correctly.

Recently in South Africa the ladies stage an embarrassing protest that saw them refusing to leave the country and their hotel to the displeasure of the Nigerian nation. Bottom line when trust is missing your dirty clothes get washed in public.

Read also: Niger: Northern traders reports N13bn weekly loss

Appeals by Stakeholders:

Appeal by stakeholders like Odion Ighalo, Victor Osimhen and Randy Waldrum has not moved the NFF. Former Everton striker, Victor Anichebe, wrote: “NFF pay them! They did us all proud! And even if they didn’t. Pay them what they are owed!! I think we should nudge the first lady (Mrs Remi Tinubu) to nudge the President (PBAT)to get this NFF to tow the path of trust and do the needful.

NFF should note that they have lost our trust and should not be cautioning FIFPro and the players for calling the federation out. The ladies do not trust NFF, FIFPro do not trust NFF, most of the players do not trust NFF and fans do not trust the NFF.Only NFF trust NFF. When trust is missing in sports governance virtually everything is missing NFF copy that.

Michael Umogun is a Chartered Marketer with interest in public policy