Club Structures- Is The Key To Community Sports Participation

Sport is a global phenomenon. Possibilities to participate in organized sports have radically increased, but a huge obstacle in Fiji has been the establishment of effective sports clubs across the
12 Mar 2017 14:57
Club Structures- Is The Key To Community Sports Participation
Youth clubs promote sport and participation in physical activities. Photo: Fiji National Sports Commission.

Sport is a global phenomenon.

Possibilities to participate in organized sports have radically increased, but a huge obstacle in Fiji has been the establishment of effective sports clubs across the country.

While some sports have clubs operating only in urban areas the main centres around the country, a majority of sports do not have club structures that exist within their respective systems.

Now how does this impact on opportunities for our people to engage in a sport of their choice and enjoy the luxury of competing to develop the talents they have.

I’m afraid there isn’t much in it. The Fiji National Sports Commission is working closely with National Sporting Organisations to promote the inclusion of their sports through the structures that have been established around the country.

The commission is working on establishing a multi-sport club model in our rural communities given the communal nature of village and community settings.

In addition the lack of resources and expertise makes it practical for a number of sports clubs to operate under the one umbrella.

It is more practical when we consider raising funds to send a team off to a tournament, paying affiliation fees and other dues, working together to support their stakeholders and promoting participation across the village or community.

The club structure is where we teach the skills of accountability, financial management, budgeting and acquitting for funds, report writing, chairing meetings, speaking at meetings and giving everyone an equal opportunity. The next step will be to affiliate the club through the NSO structures which will be done once clubs have been set up, constitutions are in place, membership registration, club code of conducts and membership rules, financial procedures are defined and documented.

The commission believes that the club is an effective vehicle that can promote sports and participation in physical activities given the parts played by our youths in becoming the advocators for sports, participation in physical activities, wellness and health promotion.

During its Sports Outreach Programme on Rotuma in October, 2016, the commission worked very closely with the Rotuma Youth Council, an established body under the Rotuma Council.

The concept of bringing sports to become affiliates of the youth club brought a lot of joy and excitement to the youths of Rotuma.

They saw this as an opportunity to take the lead role in the community. Sports affiliation opens up club membership to not only those who fall in the age brackets 17-35 but to everyone in the community who wishes to play sport and become part of the club.

To become a health promoting setting, a youth club needs to take a comprehensive approach. It can not only be confined to its own group but become inclusive in its approach.

This is the rationale behind the multi-sport club concept and associations.

Clubs in Rotuma are working hard to put this model in place on the island. The island is planning a rugby and netball tournament on the island on Friday, April 28, where the established clubs will now play in the first ever inter-club tournament on the island.

This is an opportunity to get the whole island together in a festival setting. The social benefits are great.

There is opportunities for everyone to participate in any activity relating to the tournament be it selling to make money, performing and entertaining,  transporting the public to the competition venue, bringing their market produce to sell and the list goes on.

The commission will be part of this celebration and it is very exciting to see that the whole community stands to benefit from the efforts of these sports clubs.

The commission will conduct the next Sports Outreach and Train the Trainer Program in Nadogo, Macuata from March 20-31.

The following sports have confirmed participating in the program; soccer, netball, volleyball, weightlifting, tennis and rugby.

The establishment of clubs will be the priority. We look forward to when Nadogo will host their first inter-club tournament involving some of these sports.

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