THE CUT-THROAT WORLD OF ELITE SPORTS (where athletes get treated like disposable nappies)


The ‘Business of Sport’ and the Professional Sports Administrators of the time need to rethink and reassess the function of HHRR policies. This is no rocket science! – Very simply like the corporate world, SME’s or multi-nationals do have ‘human resources operating as ‘performing assets’. Therefore, the function of those Chair and Directors of the Board is to protect the livelihood, health, wellbeing, career after sports, and last the ‘high performance’ which most of the time appears to be the only one interest. This must be done in the ‘planning’ process, when the conversation starts with the young athlete to get contracted by the organisation.

Hence, before you or your son or daughter sign that contract (quite often pressed by parent or agents) the athlete must envision the retirement time. This will everybody to look at the attrition factors, realise about the real ‘occupational hazards’ and how to prevent or eliminate or manage them.

The promise of $1M p/year or $2M p/year is REVENUE only. Now let’s identify the incidental costs? The hidden costs? The potential for physical and psychological damages, etc. etc. And now in for a Contingency Plan! Ok, now we do the numbers but before counting the money in the bank, a substantial amount must go into Superannuation Savings, just like BHP, Toyota, Commonwealth Bank, Coca Cola or Microsoft do.

If OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH & SAFETY is mandatory for the likes of BHP, Rio Tinto, or Commonwealth Bank? Why wouldn’t it be for Rugby Australia, Argentine Rugby, World Rugby, the International Olympic Committee or even FIFA?

One last very poignant point. Staff recruitment and training are far more expensive than Staff Retention, which is longer lasting, and promotes employee loyalty, less absenteeism, and a much better all-round workforce.

So? Wake up Professional Sports Administrators, because Joint Venture partners will not approve of those costs or even those of Research & Development because THEY DO NOT GENERATE a visible profit! (Bankers and Accountants always will be Bankers & Accountants) This is exactly what happened with the ARU (Australian Rugby Union) in 1996, where labelled by Greg Growden (RIP) great rugby journalist, ‘Fort Fumble (the inward-looking fortress imbued in the Corporate Hospitality concepts by ripping off, the public and the corporates enjoying ‘corporate’ hospitality the Australian way. The ARU sold its soul to the corporate dollar and completely gave their back to the families of supporters and dedicated followers.

Today Australian Rugby is where it is, thanks to those corporate types, graduated in the private school system, the universities who protected them, and the ever-influential Old Boys Club. Australian Rugby Directors continue spending millions of dollars in ‘pipe-dreams’ such as the 2027 RWC, money that is not theirs, but ours. Those of us who buy a Wallaby jumper (which keeps changing every 12 months (thanks to the creativity of Marketing Executives), track suits, ties, or socks and… the ticket to the ground for the whole family, or a corporate hospitality package? Just remember an estimated 50% of your payment is the fat money that feeds their whims, their dreams, and the first-class seats of those in the inner sanctum. As you can guess, I never was and I will never be, because I am unmanageable. I will not cover the truth or sweep the ugly stories under the aristocratic carpet of rugby union. I love the game but cannot stand the poor administration of so-called experts.

MENTAL HEALTH MANAGEMENT FORUM with Psychiatrist Dr Sergio Strejilevich (Buenos Aires)

The Franco-British Aristocracy of 140 years is well and truly alive. The Seven’s Rugby Business and the RWC Corporation feeds today, the insatiable thirst for power and financial control of a no longer a Sport, today a juicy Business fancy dressed as a Show, where The Winner takes all…

Enrique TOPO Rodriguez

Executive Chairman, The ERC Group FZCO | Wellbeing Leadership & Sport P/L

Founder and General Convener, ISSF (International Sports Sciences Forum)

Sydney 18/09/2021

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