Governance in Irish sporting bodies has been, shall we say, a hot topic over the last four years with the number of articles on Sport for Business alone running to over 200 covering the Olympics in Rio and the FAI.

Some of the elements that caused a firestorm of controversy could have been avoided and the intention of Irish sport as a whole is to make sure it does not find itself in a similar position again.

There are rules that can be applied, best practice outlined and more but ultimately it is down to those who govern taking personal responsibility for areas of governance.

The Olympic Federation of Ireland has now supported the publication of a new book, and a guide in this area.

Sports Governance: A Guide for Sporting Entities, is perhaps not as catchy a title as Champagne Football but the difference between the two runs deeper with one telling the story of where it all went wrong and this pointing out the areas to make sure it goes right.

The book is authored by governance expert Anne McFarland and published by Orpen Press. The Olympic Federation has made a copy available to each sporting organisation and it should be lockdown reading for all.

The book focuses on three main areas, with the first part being an introduction to governance, which outlines the organisation of sport in Ireland. The second part focuses on becoming a board member and the considerations taken by both the person and the organisation before taking on the responsibility. The third section looks at the key functions of a board – strategy, risk, accountability, and monitoring.

There is an attraction to becoming a board member and giving something back to sport but the book points out that this cannot blind either side to the realities of what the commitment means.

“Whether you are an experienced board member or a new member we are all on the journey of good governance, and this book is one that addresses all areas,” said Olympic Federation of Ireland President Sarah Keane, speaking at the launch.

“Anne McFarland provides an excellent road map in this book, it is easy to read and will guide you in implementing good governance to help your organisation, big or small, to thrive.”

“Sport Ireland does a huge amount of work to educate and oversee governance within the sector. With this book we are keen to play our part and will be offering initial governance consultations with Anne McFarland for our OFI members to assist them on their own journey.”

“In the foreword to the book Sarah Keane talks about how Irish athletes want to be the best in the world and about how sport should be inclusive,” added McFarland.

“To achieve this everyone involved in governing sport must be dedicated to making sure that sporting entities are running as effectively as possible. I truly hope that this book provides some clear guidance and direction for those involved with sports governance in Ireland.”

Sports Governance: A Guide for Sporting Entities is published by Orpen Press, and can be purchased here. The discount code ‘launch’ will be active until the 8 November.


Sport for Business Partners