All for a pair of shorts

Main Stories, Sports

The National- Thursday, February 10, 2011

 CRICKET PNG chief executive officer Bill Leane has expressed bewilderment at the PNG NRL Bid’s move to spend more than K700,000 of the project’s funds to essentially buy advertising space on the shorts of NRL club Brisbane Broncos.

Leane, under whose leadership, and administrative nous, cricket has taken on the mantle as the best-run sport in the country, was blunt in his assessment of the move by the country’s leading code to enhance its marketability.

“As a sports administrator I am bewildered by newspaper and web reports regarding a decision to continue the flow of local PNG funds off shore into Australian coffers in support of the PNG NRL bid,” Leane said.

He agreed that corporate sponsorship was in many ways what drives development of sport in PNG but questioned the spending of hundreds of thousands of kina when there was nothing tangible to show for the expension of money.

“Let me state as CEO of Cricket PNG, we, like all sports are fortunate to receive corporate support and achieve results that reflect our sport in a positive fashion, not only through international results but also through activities like our BSP school Kricket programe where last year (2010), more than 52,000 children in 10 provinces around PNG participated in a cricket education programme that involved regular weekly activity over 8-12 weeks in their school.  

“I believe that cricket is in a healthy place due to local business support, good governance and a truly dedicated and remarkable group of staff and players who continue to punch above their weight,” he said.

Leane said with the glaring lack of infrastructure and sustainable programmes it was unbelieveable that a group be ignorant of the magnitude of its actions.

“Here in PNG, within the sporting sector, so many sports have daily instances of poor or no facilities, little or no equipment, infrequent or non-existent junior development and a major lack of educated coaches, officials and accredited volunteers due to funds not being available or being able to be invested into grassroots sport.

“Now we read stories of  some K700,000 again going offshore,  this time to the Brisbane Broncos to have a logo on a pair of shorts. 

“Whilst publicity is a considered investment for any organisation, there is a reason to question what could K700,000 buy?”

Leane asked, in terms of equipment for children’s activity to build the nation’s sporting base, how many teachers, schools could benefit from programmes and this kind of investment, how many children could benefit across the nation from an investment in facilities and infrastructure or could there be genuine programmes to develop coaches, administrators, referees and volunteers?

“My point is not to question the current state of the game (rugby league) or the other issues that are written and spoken about daily. 

“My point is not politically motivated and at no time calls into question ministerial decisions or actions,” he said. “The point is: How does a logo on a pair of shorts provide the necessary actions to develop sport at grassroots provincial, village and community level?”