Sport is a key element of a cohesive and thriving national community. It is a tool for achieving outcomes in areas such as education, health, leadership development and fair play, and is unrivalled in its ability to link heart, mind and body, to connect individuals and to inspire communities.
The clear message throughout the co-design was that no matter the size or maturity of the sporting organisation, there was a need for educational and accessible principles to help guide organisations to good governance. There was also a clear need for the Sport Governance Principles to link to education, support and resources to transition the theory into practice.
Increasingly, all sporting organisations are being held accountable for their governance. Governance is not only relevant to large national sporting organisations; it is important for all organisations in our sector. It is for this reason that these Sport Governance Principles were co-designed through a whole-of-sector engagement.
These principles can be used throughout the Australian sport sector, from small local clubs to large national organisations, but the details and explanations tend to be most applicable to national sporting organisations and state/territory sporting organisations. Given the diversity of the sport sector, the language used throughout the principles might not align with or always be directly relevant to every sport and organisation. A list of terms can be found in the glossary, but it is worth highlighting the interchangeable nature of some of the key terms: ‘Board’ (aka, board of directors; committee of management, council, committee), ‘Director’ (aka, board member, committee member), and ‘CEO’ (aka, executive director, general manager). For organisations that do not have a CEO, some sections may be less relevant but, equally, this role could be filled by directors or other volunteers in the organisation.
It is important to remember that good governance is never static or fully achieved. As the leaders governing sport we have an ongoing opportunity to change, to transform and to be better, but we need to be selfless, determined and focused on our purpose. These are attributes we expect of our elite athletes. They are also the attributes we see in our volunteers, grassroots participants and supporters. These Sport Governance Principles seek to support those who govern sport to perform at a high standard as we look to modernise and continually embed good governance in sport in Australia.