Governance in Sport: A Platform for Growth & Development

The sporting landscape in Australia is largely enriched and delivered through the countless hours of service and support provided by volunteers - volunteer boards, committees and administrators. Good corporate governance plays a vital role in underpinning the integrity and efficiency of any sporting code. However, some see governance in sport a painful obligation but really, it should be considered a platform for development and growth.

In recent times, there has been a growing trend of scandals and corruption in sport, which, in turn is leading to a growing trend of dissatisfaction, scepticism and lack of confidence in the leaders of our sport.

In today's environment, we are increasingly subjected to media scrutiny, continuous social media attention and an increasing demand for transparency and accountability. The corporate and political worlds have been living their decisions through this lens for some time. Now sporting associations are facing the same challenges; and in my opinion - so they should!

If we accept that the status quo is no longer viable, then it makes sense for sporting associations to look to other sectors, such as business and non-profits, for governance lessons. The Australian Sports Commission recognises that effective sports governance requires leadership, integrity and good judgment. Additionally, effective governance will ensure more effective decision making, with the organisation demonstrating transparency, accountability and responsibility in the activities undertaken and resources expended.

It is commonly accepted that governance structures have a significant impact on the performance of sporting organisations. Poor governance has a variety of causes, including director inexperience, conflicts of interest, failure to manage risk, inadequate or inappropriate financial controls, and generally poor internal business systems and reporting. Ineffective governance practices not only impact on the sport where they are present, but also undermine confidence in the Australian sports industry as a whole.

It is essential for sport to act ethically and with integrity and with transparency; essential for the progress and prosperity; prevents fraud; and protects the rights of members and sponsors, donors and the governing body along with protecting the long-term objectives of the sporting code. Leading governance bodies in Australia have recognised this growing trend, now offering specific governance courses for administrators of sporting associations. See AICD Sports Governance Course or Governance Institute of Australia - Governance in Sport courses.

Another consideration is that as sport becomes increasingly commercialised, sponsors investing their money and reputation are becoming more demanding of the organisations they partner with. Sponsors demand greater transparency prior to entering into arrangements and may exercise termination rights in event of high profile governance failures.

But most importantly - effective communication is important for all governing bodies. Members should be regular informed of the governing body’s activities, policy decisions, elections, approach to governance, and other business (e.g., executive, legislative, judicial, commercial). A two-way communication, which provides channels for feedback from the members, is encouraged. If all the members of the organisation are encouraged to share their ideas, they would feel like they are an essential part of the organisation. Members should be informed of policies, procedures, financial responsibilities, and new marketing adventures.

Let our sport grow with transparency, engagement and solid ethics. Lead from the front, like any great sportsperson, with integrity and humility. Moreover, good governance is a smart business decision and fundamental to the longevity and success of our sport.

Note:  Ilona holds a Bachelor of Laws and Masters in Law from the Queensland University of Technology; a Certificate of Corporate Governance from the Governance Institute of Australia and is a Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. She is a Non-Executive Director and Chair - Audit, Risk & Governance Committee of Karting (New South Wales) Inc and a strong advocate for increased governance and transparency in sport.

Jaguar wants regular Formula E podiums in 2018/19

The Jaguar Racing Formula E team has set “a very clear goal” to score regular podiums across the 2018/19 season in a bid to build on its season four achievements.

Jaguar has enjoyed impressive gains since it joined the all-electric series in season three, managing more than four times the amount of points it achieved in its maiden campaign to lift itself from the bottom of the teams’ championship and up to sixth in 2017/18, as well as claiming a first pole position and podium.

Heading into season five, which marks the introduction of the all-new ‘Gen2’ car, the British manufacturer has fully developed a new powertrain in-house for the first time in its new I-TYPE 3 challenger – which also features over 800 new components.

“We’ve been very pragmatic about our journey and the next step is moving from a regular points-scoring team to a regular podium team,” Jaguar team principal James Barclay said.

“That’s what we need to be getting towards, so we are a team that’s able regularly fight and put ourselves in a position to be on the podium. That’s our very clear goal.”

Jaguar has retained its driver line-up consisting of Nelson Piquet Jr and Mitch Evans for season five, with season one champion Piquet insisting the team is still “playing catch up” compared to its rivals.

When asked by what he feels is possible for Jaguar in season five, Piquet said: “We’re going to take a step forward. We don’t know how much the other teams are going to take forward but we’re playing catch [up] at the moment.

“I don’t know if it will take one, two, or three seasons to catch them but at the moment we are playing catch up.

“The jump from season one to two was very easy because the powertrain they had in their season one was a last-minute thing they did, so the closer you get to that 100 percent efficiency it gets harder to get close.

“That little last percentage is very hard to get. We are going to do a step forward but we don’t know what the other teams are going to do.”

Piquet believes Jaguar can compete for the teams’ championship in 2018/19 providing it can pull off its target of fighting for regular top five finishes and podiums. 

“If we have the same step again next year, it’s going to put us in a very good position,” he said.

“To fight for a championship you always need to be in the top five, then your consistency will make you win a championship.

“If we can always be fighting in the top five that will put us in contention to win the championship and that’s what we will try to do.”

“I just want to see Jaguar at the top," Evans added. "I know how hard the team has worked behind the scenes.

"We have had two years in the championship, the first year was tough for us coming in as a new team but we made a huge step last year.

"I really want to see both of us at the front and then take it to the other manufacturer’s for the championship."

Bob Jane has died aged 88

He died on Friday night "after a long and brave battle" with prostate cancer, his family confirmed on Saturday.

"It was our privilege to have had him as our dad, whom we loved and cherished. We will miss him deeply and he will forever be in our hearts," his children Courtney, Charlotte and Robert Jane said in a statement.

"As his family we ask for privacy at this devastating time."

Jane rose to fame as a champion race car driver, claiming the Armstrong 500 endurance motor race four times, between 1961 and 1964, at Phillip Island in Victoria and its eventual home of Mount Panorama, near Bathurst in NSW.

Harry Firth partnered him three times and George Reynolds for the final victory in a Fort Cortina GT.

The 500-mile "Great Race" concept is now known as the Bathurst 1000.

Jane also won four Australian Touring Car Championships between 1962 and 1972.

"Driving in one of Australian motorsport's greatest eras, his accomplishments on and off the track will long be remembered," Supercars chief executive Sean Seamer said in a statement, titled "Vale Bob Jane", on Saturday.

The Confederation of Australian Motor Sport said Jane was "an influential character in motor sport and made a significant contribution" while Supercars Australia called him "one of the greatest race car drivers the Australian Touring Car Championship has seen".

Jane will be honoured on the Mount Panorama circuit at this year's Great Race, running October 4 to 7, he said.

"Few will ever win four Championships and Bathurst crowns, let alone four 1000 titles in a row," Mr Seamer said.

After Jane retired from driving he remained involved in the sport through his Calder Park circuit complex in northwest Melbourne and Adelaide International Raceway on the outskirts of Adelaide, South Australia.

He set the foundations for Australia's first Formula 1 Grand Prix in Adelaide by bringing big-name F1 stars to compete in the Australian Grand Prix at Calder in the early 1980s, and also invested in Calder's Thunderdome oval, which held NASCAR races for over a decade from 1988.

In 2000, Jane and fellow race car driver Norm Beechey were among the first inducted into the V8 Supercars Hall of Fame. He was also included in Bathurst's new Legends Lane last year, alongside the likes of Peter Brock.

He is, perhaps, best known for his tyre chain Bob Jane T-Marts, which first opened in Melbourne in 1965.

But the multi-millionaire icon was mired in controversy in recent years.

His son Rodney took control of the company after his father suffered a stroke in 2006, and Mr Jane subsequently filed a $2.9 million lawsuit against his son in 2013, which was thrown out by the Supreme Court of Victoria.

He declared bankruptcy in 2016.

Toto Wolff would be ‘overwhelmed’ to see Pascal Wehrlein return to F1

Toto Wolff would be “overwhelmed” to see Pascal Wehrlein make a return to Formula 1 in the future following confirmation of German driver’s exit from Mercedes’ motorsport programme at the end of the season.

Wehrlein moved into F1 in 2016 as the leading member of Mercedes’ junior programme after winning the DTM title the previous year, but was without a seat for 2018 after being replaced at Sauber by Charles Leclerc.

Unable to find an F1 seat, Wehrlein returned to DTM for the 2018 season, but will cut ties with Mercedes at the end of the year by mutual consent.

Mercedes also has junior drivers Esteban Ocon and George Russell on its books, prompting its motorsport boss Wolff to openly consider the future of its young driver programme.

“There are many reasons why we started the junior programme,” Wolff said. “One, that we felt that we wanted to help talent that didn’t have the means to make it through the ranks and Mercedes was helping Pascal from the very early days.

“I met him when he was 16 at the Norisring and we had a great journey together, from the ADAC to F3 then DTM, and we’ve invested time and money.

“The same with George Russell and Esteban Ocon but we are coming to a point that we haven’t got a junior team, and if you are lacking possibilities to place them then you need to either think of reducing your driver programme and releasing somebody or changing the strategy.

“We are at the crossroads at the moment. We are going to see how it plans out with George and with Esteban, and then decide how we continue.”

Wehrlein has been linked with one of the vacant seats at Red Bull B-team Toro Rosso for 2019, leading to Wolff being asked if it would be “heartbreaking” to see him race for “the doctor’s squad” next year, referring to Red Bull advisor Dr. Helmut Marko.

“Obviously we felt also together with Pascal that this was the best outcome for him. My opinion of him is still very high and it looked like that we could be possibly blocking his future career,” Wolff said.

“This is not what we wanted, and he also felt that he needed to do it on his own and give it a go on his own.

“I would be overwhelmed and happy if he on his own would find his way into Formula 1 or a professional racing career.”

New South Wales Kart Championship

There is a certain anticipation in the air and karters are a little more excited about the last New South Wales Kart Championship under Karting Australia’s regime scheduled to be held in Lithgow this weekend.

Spirits have not been dampened by KA’s apparent inability to supply its usual sets of prize tyres to the State Championship podium winners. Instead - there’s a new kinda buzz around town!

Karters in NSW are coming out of the woodwork to contribute their expertise, their weekends and their license fees towards rebuilding the sport they almost lost. Some members have even been checking out clubs to move their membership away from those clubs that voted to stay with KA. They may not have had their voice heard - but their wallets can walk!

Some have even been encouraging their fellow states to come and join the fun.... because that is what Karting should be! FUN!

As we all know, the voice of the karter is strong and will no longer be silenced, penalised or priced out of the sport that has been in families for generations.

We look forward to this weekends racing and moreover look forward to bringing the fun back to racing.


It appears Mick Doohan’s reference to the “other end of the sport” in Karting Australia’s latest Full Throttle Publication, continues to highlight the division and preference Karting Australia has been giving to the “elite” and “privileged”.

Grass-root karters have been experiencing the squeeze since Karting Australia’s CEO launched his Strategic Plan in 2016 to create sustainable growth in a “niche” sporting market and “define elite driver development pathways” ensure development and/or improvement of “the financial position of Karting Australia” and the “overall Karting Australia brand and image”.