The West African sports official: an insider's view of sports administration

TitleThe West African sports official: an insider's view of sports administration
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsW.E.A. van Beek
Secondary TitlePaideuma : Mitteilungen zur Kulturkunde
Pagination77 - 101
Date Published2013///
Publication Languageeng
ISSN Number0078-7809
Keywordssports, West Africa

Using my own experience as a sports administrator, I describe and analyse the organisational culture of West African sports. As a cultural anthropologist and draughts player, I have been President of the Fédération Mondiale du Jeu de Dames for eleven years, followed by four years as Executive Vice-President of the Confédération Africaine du Jeu de Dames. Using a series of first hand cases, five major principles of 'management culture' or 'board-room culture' are discerned and analysed that seem to inform the way power is handled in West African sports. These are: personal presence, the primacy of the official, the importance of board positions, the personalisation of power and finally the use of the past to legitimise the present. In all of them, the small world of draughts offers an insider's view of the relationship between notions of power, the politicisation of sports and the processes of neo-patrimonialism that inform African politics more generally. The article ends with some thoughts on the cultural specificity of these processes in West Africa and on the position of sports in the wider African society.

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Citation Key5792