It is heartwarming that finally the long awaited Sports Bill 2012 has been published. Several Sports ministers have come and gone all too often with the promise they will table this crucial document in Parliament for discussion.
The document has faced resistance from various stakeholders. Youth and Sports Minister Dr Paul Otuoma and his team should be commended for the effort so far in drafting and publishing the Bill.
It is imperative that Parliament discuss the Bill and pass it soon because the benefits far outweigh the negatives.
The Bill provides for the establishment of a Kenya Sports Development Authority, a National Sports Fund, Sports Institute and a Tribunal to carter for arbitration of sports disputes.
The sports authority would manage and maintain facilities and adopt, develop and set stadia standards. At the moment, Kenya cannot host premier international events such as Africa Nations Cup or World Athletics Championship.
Kenyan Premier League matches are played on despicable surfaces that have cut short careers through injuries, or worse still, curtailed the development of talent. Ethiopia is developing world class facilities and has made it no secret it will bid for the Africa Nations Cup very soon.
Senegal, hosts in 1992 are putting together a bid for Africa’s football showpiece in 2019. Yet, Kenya is light years away from talking of hosting such an event.
Poorly managed local federations have failed to attract funding from the private sector and a National Sports Fund can bridge the gap.
In countries that take sports seriously, the private sector has taken the lead in talent identification and development. Here, the Government can set the ball rolling with the envisaged National Sports Institute.
Sports associations have fought their debilitating wars all the way to local courts, but a tribunal would stem these expensive battles.
However, the Bill would only be of help if our Parliamentarians would enrich it and give it tight safety nets by ensuring that once it becomes law qualified persons only take charge of the authority