Sport Australia’s Governance Principles for National Sporting Organisations: The Triumph of Managerialism Over Accountability and Representation in Australian Sport

Posted: 19 Oct 2020

Date Written: September 13, 2019

Abstract

This article analyses the good governance principles of Sport Australia, the Commonwealth Government’s sports administration agency. These governance principles are applied to national sporting organisations (NSOs) that govern Australian sports. NSOs adopt federated membership structures with their only effective members being State and Territory associations. While Sport Australia is critical of these structures as contributing to poor governance and notwithstanding that it insists upon NSOs adopting other structural reforms, the agency abdicates seeking membership reform for reasons of expediency. Instead, Sport Australia pursues behavioural change as the remedy for the defects of federated NSOs. It is argued that the accountability of federated NSO boards is defective. Real accountability is defeated when accountability is owed to a membership that is unrepresentative of those who are governed by NSO boards. Moreover, in the absence of accountability, Sport Australia’s governance principles invest NSO boards with a form of absolute control wholly inconsistent with principles of good governance.

Keywords: Governance, Good Governance Principles, National Sports Governing Bodies, Accountability, Representative Structures

JEL Classification: K29, K39, Z21, Z29, L31, L33, L44, L59, L83

Suggested Citation

Freeburn, Lloyd, Sport Australia’s Governance Principles for National Sporting Organisations: The Triumph of Managerialism Over Accountability and Representation in Australian Sport (September 13, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3684187

Lloyd Freeburn (Contact Author)

University of Melbourne ( email )

185 Pelham Street
Carlton, Victoria 3053
Australia

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