Ensuring Sports for All Athletes

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Two schools prepare for a handball encounter .jpg

The recent decision by the Ministry of Youth & Sports to be on the back of sports federations and associations has shown the seriousness to make sports for all athletes a possibility.

In an August 14 validated guidelines to all national associations and federations, the ministry was emphatic when it released the following guidelines:

Every federation and association will submit to the ministry a medium and long range program at the beginning of the fiscal year.

Their programs must include an annual league and therefore there will be no excuses. For example if the Liberia Boxing Association does not have a ring for its activities, then they better find one, because you can develop a boxer only by training.

The ministry also wants situational reports, including external funding from international parent bodies.

This one is also important because it will provide the ministry an opportunity to understand what a federation or an association goes through in certain situations.

The ministry expects a record on all athletes on their performances. For example, track and field athletes require constant update to ensure that no athlete is using banned substances because the world is furious when an athlete cheats another in what supposed to be a fair contest.

Another important rule is that academic attendance must not conflict with any sporting program which goes with the principle that there is life after sports. This one is also important because past athletes, majority that did not place emphasis on academic education have come to accept the reality of not being able to stand on their own. Many have been sick with little or no support except through the handouts or support from close friends.

Even the Ministry of Youth & Sports does not have any program that must benefit former players or athletes, neither is the Liberia Football Association.

Another important element is the submission of elected officials to the ministry since there are some officials who go to sleep after election.

Those who would be unable to justify their presence in administration must not be allowed to just occupy space and the associations and federations must be up to the task to ensure effective sports administration in their outfits.

Since the ministry provides subsidies, no matter how much, to nearly 29 associations and federations, those who are not able to obey these instructions may have some difficulties with the ministry.

All athletes deserve the best support for better development and performance. There can be no compromise on it.

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