The ICC and FIFA have been founded and managed mainly by Europeans with some small posts given to non-Europeans for window dressing purposes. Whenever non-Europeans attempt to rise in these Organizations, ways are found to keep them in their place or to force them out. They do so without allowing intervention of any government or organization whether they are affiliates or not.
This one-size-fits-all non-intervention policy works well in Europe and some other countries where association leaders put national interest above self, but is certainly not right for Guyana, the West Indies and other countries where leaders of some organizations behave as if they have divine right to lead until death. Many would, if given half a chance, will their post to their children.
In Europe, no association would be allowed to sit comfortably, running the affairs of Football or Cricket in a country while national teams fail match after match as the standard of the game keeps falling and management becomes inept, entrenched, fossil and ineffective. From the time the press becomes critical of them, you would see a rush of resignations and policy changes at clubs and board level as national pride and dignity force patriotic action.
In some mid-Eastern countries such as India and Pakistan, fan indignation would lead to burning of effigies and property, neither the ICC nor FIFA can do something about that. Fans, the world over, hate national failure.
Here in Guyana, in the West Indies and in third world countries where fans are more accommodating, affiliates of the ICC and FIFA take the press and even government for granted. They talk down to elected Prime Ministers and Presidents while they hide behind their no-interference clause.
But who give them the right to say they represent us, when those who we elect to lead can have not oversight of their actions. No one wants to see Government controlling every aspect of sport but they, not FIFA or ICC, are elected by us to do what is best for this country.
The irony of it all is that the same disrespectful comedians who trumpet non-interference the loudest, are the very ones who run with begging bowl in hand to Government and private organizations crying for money for everything, from plane tickets to hotel accommodation, meals, ground upkeep and sport gear.
Whenever a major game is on they are quick to remind us to buy their tickets. National pride, they tell us is at stake. I wonder where is their national pride when they keep supervising organizations that produce teams that fail match after match and series after series while they maliciously and vindictively keep our best players at home.
If no corporate or government help is given, both cricket and football would be almost dead in Guyana and the West Indies, so it is time associations shut up, stop being hypocritical, and work with others to clean up their act if they are truly committed to developing sport in Guyana and the West Indies.
Keith G. Austin
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