After spending 16 years in power as the president of the Mumbai Schools Sports Association (MSSA), father Jude Rodrigues has finally found a worthy opponent. Hockey Secretary Lawrence Bing, who resigned from his post last month, ran as a candidate against Father Rodrigues at the MSSA scheduled for July.
Lawrence, who turned out to be the most active of all the other sports secretaries, managed to keep his sport (hockey) alive even when people were confined to their homes during the Covid-19 lockdown.
With his innovative ideas, he has organized hockey webinars, talk shows, drawing contests, skills contests. So much so that one of the video entries sent in by a school sports athlete was picked up by the Olympic Channel and shown around the world in preparation for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
An enthusiastic Lawrence also organized Major Dhyandchand’s birthday celebrated as National Sports Day with online activities. This effort helped MSSA win the runners-up trophy presented by Hockey India.
Lawrence has now decided to contest the MSSA elections and formed the Progressive Group as part of his efforts to improve the corps in all departments. He says, “There is a lot to do.
In an interview with Free Press Journal, Lawrence opens up about a variety of issues facing the MSSA and how he plans to change them.
Why did you decide to run for the MSSA elections for the post of president?
There are several reasons. The MSSA currently lacks vision, planning and execution and lacks innovative ideas for organizing tournaments, developing the sport, nurturing/creating a talent pool and developing infrastructure.
During my experience as hockey secretary, I observed that the president wants to dictatorially control the entire management committee, excluding football, despite countless negative reactions from various stakeholders like schools/coaches , the media, etc. He also imposes decisions on a few members of the MC. without prior discussion at MC meetings.
The MSSA as a sports organization has never progressed. Lack of adequate facilities to organize various sports tournaments. In fact, for the past 15 years, it has only promised an artificial surface with no concrete plans to develop it.
It lacks transparency and governance.
What have you learned during your tenure at the MSSA?
How to prepare to overcome obstacles. It comes naturally to me. I have always been a “go-getter”. Despite the challenges, as the Hockey Secretary, I ensured that the tournaments ran smoothly to the satisfaction of the students/coaches attending the tournaments.
What changes are you looking to bring to school sport?
We have identified several areas and many of these would be part of the election manifesto with the interests of stakeholders in mind – namely member schools, students, coaches and the association.
What is the first thing you will do if you are elected president of the MSSA?
As a panel, we feel that the issues/concerns of our MSSA staff need to be addressed on a war footing and a resolution to their decade-old fight with the current President who has the freedom to speak on behalf of the coaches and teachers and invite them to make suggestions. We will have a medical policy for teachers.
What made you leave the position of hockey secretary?
I was like a toothless tiger in a cage with only responsibilities but no authority. The high-handedness I displayed in carrying out my role and responsibilities as Hockey Secretary created obstacles that were completely unethical, unprofessional and inappropriate, which made me very difficult to operate in the desired way.
Why were you unhappy with the association?
The lack of transparency and governance within the management committee and also the inactivity of several members who were part of the so-called “Team A” or the president’s favorite team.
What kind of response do you receive as a candidate?
The response was very overwhelming and encouraging, which gave me and my panel renewed vigor and motivation to transform the MSSA into a leading body in school sports that all member schools will be proud of. associate with us. This time we have secret voters.
Are you going to form your panel? And will the panel compete for every post?
Yes. We have already trained the Progressive Professionals and started working on them. We will compete for all positions. Progressive Professionals brings together individuals and athletes with
with a strong knowledge of sport and administration with the primary intent/goal to bring about ethical professional transformation by providing governance, creating collaborations, empowering and demonstrating transparency to recreate the “MSSA brand”.
Do you expect free and fair elections in July?
It’s the last thing anyone wants to expect, but we’re ready to take on all the challenges we’ve already factored into our planning process.
There should be a proper election in accordance with the rules of the Charity Commission with an Election Officer delegated by the Charity Commission.
All Day Schools, whether SSC Schools, BMC Schools or International Schools, who are members shall have voting rights in accordance with the MSSA Constitution.
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Posted: Friday, April 29, 2022, 9:22 PM IST