A new resource has been launched to help Australia’s sporting leaders – many of them volunteers – face the current challenges of COVID-19 and to build a stronger sporting future.

Sport Governance Principles 2020 is aimed at giving sporting Boards and Directors clear, consistent and educational advice that improves how sport is governed, no matter the size or resources of the sporting organisation.

Sport Australia is launching the Principles in conjunction with State and Territory Agencies of Recreation and Sport. Sports across the country have contributed to the co-design of the Principles and, to reflect that, a series of six interactive webinars are being held from August 3-12.

The COVID-19 pandemic halted sporting competitions world-wide and, more than ever, Australian sport is competing with other recreational activities for participants. Acting Sport Australia CEO Rob Dalton encouraged all sporting organisations, from local to national bodies, to engage with Sport Governance Principles 2020 and the additional resources bring out the best in their sport for participants.

Mr Dalton said.

“This is an incredibly tough time for sport, but this project is a fantastic example of sport working together to be better.”

“This work will not only help guide sport through this demanding period, it will be influential in creating a strong sporting industry as we emerge from COVID-19.Sporting success is not just determined by on-field contests, sport is now competitive business. Community needs are changing and sporting administrators need to be agile and evolve to meet those needs.”

“These Principles challenge sporting leaders to seek continuous improvement for their sports in areas such as values, behaviours, vision, diversity, integrity and cohesion. The best sporting organisations harness the collective capability within their sport and drive progress.

“Governance in sport is unique, we rely heavily on the biggest volunteer workforce of any industry. So it’s important that we provide the education and support our sporting leaders need.”

Sports have contributed to and endorsed the Principles. President and Chair of Basketball Australia Ned Coten said:

“Now, more than ever, strong structure and governance is critical in driving the whole industry of sport forward. It is impossible to overstate the importance of strong Governance, as success starts with a structure that supports every action in a business. I implore every Board at any level of sport in Australia, from local Association to National Sporting Organisation, to embrace and adopt this ground-breaking work.”

More than 70 sports have been involved in this collaborative process which has included workshops in every state and territory as well as online forums.

Chair of Netball Australia Paolina Hunt said:

“Strong governance capability underpins all high-performing organisations and is a vital ingredient to building sustained long-term success. What happens off the court is as critical as what happens on it.

“Integrating the voice of sport across the process has resulted in a framework and ‘toolkit’ capable of delivering an immediate value-add to the industry. Importantly, this is not a one-size-fits-all approach – the framework now factors in the diversity of governance capability that currently exists within sport and delivers a range of practical tools and resources designed to streamline implementation.

“The principles support pragmatic and sustainable development of governance capability, enabling each sport to design its own roadmap for ongoing continuous improvement within their unique financial means and priorities.”

CEO of Diving Australia David Bell said:

“The acceptance that “one organisation’s good practice may be different to another is an excellent acknowledgement in a highly diverse sporting industry, and means that these new Sport Governance Principles can be readily used by sports as a real value add. They provide excellent clarity and due to the huge amount of work undertaken, strong and useful detail.”

The Sport Governance Principles 2020, as well as a full list of interactive tools, resources and education, can be found at sportaus.gov.au/governance

To help bring the Principles to life there will be a series of webinars. The expert panels will change in each state, with access to live Q&A on all. The webinars are being staged for: Queensland August 5, Western Australia August 6; Tasmania August 6; and South Australia August 12.

Sport Australia will also launch a series of podcasts later in August speaking to special guests personalising their experiences and lessons learned.