Knowing what your role in an organisation is; delivering on that role; and being accountable for that delivery.

Not knowing is one of the reasons why we are constantly seeing poor leadership and decision making from many of our National Sporting Organisations (NSOs) and peak sporting bodies (eg Australian Olympic Council AOC).

Professional athletes, coaches and support staff are under this scrutiny all the time.

It appears that those who are involved in offield policy, strategy and organisational decision making are less accountable for their performance.

This may be perception only and not factual. However, recent examples such as Cricket Australia’s (CA) pay dispute; AOC continued public  dispute over an alleged bullying culture; the debacle of ARU’s ongoing reorganisation of Super Rugby franchises; the NRL’ s Commission and looming player pay dispute has maintained interest away from the actual playing of the game; and the list goes on.

Now Mark Taylor, CH 9 commentator, Cricket Australia (CA) Board member, former Test captain has weighed in on how the Australian Cricket team should be playing in Bangladesh.

As a former Test player, there is little doubt he has a right to his opinion – even if his opinion is inaccurate.

As a CH9 commentator, it would also seem he has the right to make comment about Australia’s fortunes as he has a vested interest in Australia playing well and continuing to build their performances towards an Ashes series for which CH9 are host broadcaster.

However as an administrator, as a Board member of CA, he will have his views, but these should not be expressed publicly for a few reasons –

  1. Good corporate governance and leadership should mandate Board members not to express personal opinions on the day to day operations of the business. Commentary of this nature must be handled by those who are employed and directly accountable
  2. In expressing personal opinion, it becomes a reflection on how the Board of CA operate as a leadership team. The Board develops policy and strategy to enable those who are employed to manage CA to return the expected results – one of which is onfield performance. So Mark Taylor’s comments, if reflective of the Board, are either a direct criticism of the coach, captain and playing group; or conversely, a direct criticism of themselves for adopting poor policy and/or poor strategy
  3. If it is CA Board policy to allow Board members to speak publicly on various matters, then the spokesperson should not be conflicted in how comments will be interpreted or perceived – is Mark Taylor a former player when he comments? Is he representing the interests of his employer Ch9? Is he a Board member of CA and speaking on their behalf?

While this article may seem trivial to some readers, I believe this example is further evidence of what is endemic within Australian sport and has been becoming more pervasive.

Good governance and leadership has not kept pace with the changing demands of sport, whether that be at professional level or at grassroots.

The professionalization of Australian sport has happened very rapidly on-field – it has a long way to go off-field.


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To see more about Taylor’s views on the plans of the struggling Aussies: