BCA must keep ahead of the times
DESPITE SOME DECLINE in its appeal, cricket still arguably commands the greatest mass interest among sports played in Barbados. It offers opportunities on and off the field of play.
Against this background, it is easy to understand the national interest in the operations of the umbrella body, the Barbados Cricket Association (BCA).
So, like many other Barbadians, we followed the recent annual general meeting and the subsequent elections of officers with keen interest. Congratulations to Mr Joel Garner and all those re-elected or newly elected to lead the organization. Thanks to those who offered themselves as candidates but were unsuccessful, because it takes spirit to contest and also shows an interest in taking the sport forward.
The board has a new first vice-president, secretary and treasurer, and the first few months in office will be a transitional period. We hope that as professionals the members of the board will also put behind them the perceived divisions and work together for the advancement of the sport.
The association must move forward and institute a number of initiatives. Mr Garner has already highlighted a code of conduct as being his priority, given what were termed breaches of confidentiality during the lead-up to the recent vote. This is crucial, but is just a part of the overall need to have strong corporate governance rules in place, a necessity for the BCA or any other major sports organization.
We also believe that the new executive must place emphasis on transparency and accountability as well as on marketing and communications.
The president must be accessible and speak to sports journalists when questioned, while important decisions of the board that will impact on the wider membership and public must be relayed in a timely manner. The way things were done in the “old days” cannot cut it today. The BCA is a members’ club, but it is not a closed shop.
Innovation is also going to be critical for the BCA in its efforts to strengthen the sport and maintain its appeal as the top local sport. It must not only be seen as a sport for the players, officials, umpires, support staff and spectators – in that order. Today’s spectator wants to feel that they are more than a body in a seat beyond the boundary.
The examples of spectator interest and excitement are best seen in local motorsport, in the two top out-of-season football competitions and even in the T-20 cricket competitions. These all show that they can be sporting events attracting entire families and not primarily men.
The BCA is on a firm wicket with its development of the sport by offering contractual arrangements to some players. It needs to expand its reach by working with affiliate clubs to ensure they enhance their management capacity.
It must also look to embrace the Barbados Cricket League. The days of the separation of the two organizations have long gone. The development of cricket and the exploitation of its true potential must be at the heart of whatever the BCA does.