Oceania Athletics Association (OAA) executive director Yvonne Mullins and competition manager Tom O’Shaughnessy have been in Rarotonga over the past week, helping out ACI in a number of areas.
ACI is now the first athletics organisation in the Pacific to implement a new International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) constitution, with Mullins involved in assisting with matters relating to the associations governance this week.
“Anywhere you go, governance is a challenge, and when you work with volunteers you rely on a small group of the community who are prepared to put their hands up,” said Mullins.
“Getting the right mix of people is part of that challenge.”
Mullins said she was encouraged that the ACI committee had accepted that there needed to be constitutional changes.
“The federation has abandoned their current constitution and are in the process of amending the IAAF model to suit their needs,” she said.
“One of the major changes the committee tentatively agreed to before they hold a special meeting next week was to move in favour of clubs rather than individual members, which I believe is democratically correct.”
Financial transparency is also something Mullins says needs to be addressed quickly by ACI.
“The IAAF supports its member federations quite handsomely and over $40,000 in any financial year is available to them.
“ACI have an obligation to audit that funding and without one the IAAF will no doubt scrutinise them more closely.”
With all of these tough decisions taking place, Mullins said she was disappointed more committee members did not attend the meetings that took place during the week.
“I feel if more members were present, broader discussions could have taken place,” she said.
“However, I am encouraged by those who did attend, that they were open to change and to be able to recognise the inadequacies that ACI are currently experiencing.”
Mullins reiterated that there is potential for the federation to grow to be a force within Oceania.
“ACI should be amongst the top Polynesian associations within OAA and they are having great success with athletes like Patty, Alex and Tereapii, so now the challenge is to translate the great track and field performances through to the administration.”