TUBOD, LANAO DEL NORTE, NOVEMBER 1, 2003 (STAR) By Lino Dela Cruz  - There is a need for an institute of sports if this country wants to rebuild its sports program and be globally competitive in the future, according to an expert.

This is the view of Lance Irving, Ph.D, sports consultant of Autralian-based Solve (NT) Consultancies, as he envisions the role of the proposed Mindanao Institute of Sports which will be housed at the Mindanao Civic Center (MCC), venue of the just-concluded Palarong Pambansa, as the " sports university" where every body from the sports sector can come and be trained.

"Our sports leaders, officials, coaches, administrators, coordinators and leaders of ‘not-for-profit’ sports organizations non-government organizations (NGO) have no sufficient development program. If you don’t have that, you don’t have any for the athletes" said Irving, who has been assisting the local government here for almost a year now in the development of its sports program. He has been frequenting the Philippines since 1996.

He said the proposed Mindanao Institute of Sports which is seen to evolve into a "university", will provide training in sports management, coaching, officiating, sports medicine and other programs.

"Sports is all about good return of investments that will lead to high rewards" Irving said.

" We can not blame the athletes for their performance. They are doing their best. The problem lies in the coaches, programs and the lack of resources" he added.

"The coaches pass the blame to the leaders who then blame the government. This vicious cycle must be stopped." he said.

"If there is one thing that causes problems in a not-for-profit sports organization, it is money! There is never enough, it ‘evaporates’ and there are accusations thrown around. Once this occurs, the process can become very damaging to the organization because mistrust develops and a great deal of energy is devoted to either tracking down the cause of problems or, if malfeance has occurred, covering the tracks. Either way, the organization suffers" Irving added.

Advocacy must be established so that a sporting body is neither a charity or a business but in fact a not-for-profit sporting organization and it will not survive if it operates as a charity. Neither will it survive if a strictly business view is taken. It must be run in a balanced manner.

The sports training courses range from advocacy, leadership, governance, planning, financial management, and budget. The institute expects to fully realize its objectives in 20 to 30 years.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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