Covid-19 brought sport worldwide to a crossroads and sport administrators and athletes need to start thinking differently about how they operate, as we will not be returning to the pre-virus status quo.
That is the warning from Gerald Donn, executive member of the Western Cape Provincial Sport Confederation. Donn is also the president of the West Coast District Sport Council and a high-ranking official of South African Soccer Federation Western Cape.
He says people should start to think out of the box about the road ahead and need to prepare now for a changed sport landscape after lockdown. Whether it has to do with fixtures, financial models, structures, or administration, sport people have to prepare them to do things differently.
One thing is certain and that is that the world of sport is changing now, and it will look different post Covid-19.
The financial impact of the lockdown is massive, but Donn believes it would not mean the end of sport federations. He says the message even before lockdown to sport federations was that they should move out of their “silos”.
Soccer or netball, for instance, should not try to operate on their own and should unite, especially when it comes to the generation of funds. It is a good habit that needs to be adopted and which could help sporting bodies to survive financially.
Donn says he was aware that money is a sensitive matter and it makes everybody blind and difficult and likened it to the “bull run” in Spain. But he cautioned that sport administrators definitely need to get rid of the old ideas and adapt to the new normal.
He says the lockdown should be used to introduce a new generation of sport leaders, as people are clinging to positions for way too long. Now is the time for the youth to step forward and take over, as not many codes have a legacy of leadership.
He says he does not want a situation where the president or chairperson or general secretary of a body resigns or dies and then the intellectual property of that organisation goes with him or her.
He says a lot of sport bodies do not do long-term planning and operates on a day-to-day basis. He says they should address this problem and the WCPSC will give guidance, but the bodies should also think out of the box and try to find solutions to secure their long-term future.