Questions of Leadership

leadershipIt started out as a year where we would celebrate the European Football Championships and the Olympic and Paralympic Games at a global level and so much more on our own island.

It has turned into a 12 month period which will be remembered long after the goals and medals as one in which corruption and accusations of wrong doing around financial matters have cut to the core of what sport is perceived to be.

Last night the England football manager left his post after one game in charge over allegations and recordings published in the Daily Telegraph newspaper.

A link to that newspapers in depth coverage of not only Sam Allardyce but an additional eight Premier League Managers they say they have evidence against is included below.

There is a duty of care that goes with positions of power.  A responsibility to do the right thing for the right reasons.  It is not always the easiest path but it is one that you have to be willing to be held to account for if you get it wrong.

There is an unseemly vicarious pleasure in picking over the bones of those who have fallen and in Ireland we give second to few countries in tearing the ‘tall poppies.’

The moral of the story, in a tale where morality is a rare commodity, is that you should always do what you believe is right.  A good litmus test is to think would your family be comfortable seeing what you’ve done or said displayed in a public medium.

That’s what happens.  If you have no sense of that you should not really be in a position of power or authority.

Context is an important element to consider and if things are taken out of that they can be made to look much worse than they really are.

Pat Hickey is defending himself in Rio on the basis that there was no wrongdoing in where Olympic Council of Ireland tickets ended up.  His innocence or guilt will be judged on evidence and facts as opposed to heated media speculation.

Sam Allardyce and his fellow elite of football management now stand in a dock of public opinion as Hickey did a month ago.  If their case moves into courts of law there will also need to be greater evidence than secretly filmed interviews which may yet be seen to be more braggadocio than venality, or maybe not.

We have to do things better.  Later this month we are involved in a global debate on an Irish stage around ethics in sport.  The One Zero Conference is bringing Jamie Fuller, Chairman of Skins and an outspoken commentator on the subject to Ireland to bring this whole area into the spotlight.

On the same day, and at the same event Lance Armstrong will take part in a ‘no holds barred’ interview on the events of his life and career that made him such an immensely relevant figure in that same debate.

We have been criticised for ‘giving him a platform’ but it is in so doing that we will learn more about how to do things better in the future.

We have also been approached by a number of leading figures within the Sport for Business community to take the debate further by convening a special group to look at Leadership and Responsibility within sport.  We will be doing that in the coming days and weeks.

Things need to be better.  Sport should be able to lead the debate on leadership.  It’s what it does in terms of management, captaincy, teamwork, purpose, dedication and more on a regular basis.  It’s what makes sport great.  It’s not beyond the wit or wisdom of people who are willing to stand up and make a difference to do just that.

Here is the coverage from today’s Daily Telegraph newspaper.

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