Monday, May 30, 2011

Dont bark up the wrong tree.

Every time there is a gathering of the parents, I will hear grouses about MCF. How come we are playing for the Country and no Sponsors? Where is our uniforms? etc. etc. Is it possible that we are barking up the wrong tree?

The first thing we need to do is to look at ourselves. Chess has no spectacular successes like squash or badminton. So there is very little government funding. And I dont think that is going to change anytime soon. Second is that it is not a spectator sport like football so there are no TV rights like FIFA, to sell.

Sometimes I think we may be treating MCF like it is the Government. But it is just an NGO and it does not have Petronas to fill it's coffers.

Look further and you will also see that MCF does not have the people with the right skill sets or experience to deal with the Corporate Sponsors. NGO's like MCF may not even be stable. Only recently have we seen a change in leadership that may inspire confidence. But things still look murky. A written selection is a step in the right direction but it is far from perfect and too recent.

So I think we can see many reasons why MCF cannot by itself get sponsorship today.

But there are a few who still take pot shots at MCF disguised as anonymous bloggers etc. Speculation is rife that those people may even be from MCF itself or those that benefited from past abuses. What could be their motives to try to reverse the first positive steps in regulating chess? Isnt it transparent?

Before Asian Youth, I took the opportunity to speak to some old friends. Dr Nathan, the President of the Malaysian Tenpin Congress and John Eu who just organised the Maybank Open for Golf which carried a million ringgit prize money.

They have a lot of experience bringing in sponsors and working in and with Associations. And they have found solutions to the problem. I will be talking to them again to see if there are steps forward.

But clearly the Asean initiative by FGM was a step forward to getting training for our Juniors. Clearly the Thematics is a step in the right direction to giving our strong players a Tournament to improve their skills.

MCF is a regulatory body. It is supposed to set conditions so that Chess can grow in Malaysia. They need to ensure that our Tournaments benefit Malaysians. They are supposed to be our voice when our players go overseas by liasing with other Associations and Organisers. If they can do that well, isnt it enough? And are they finally not doing that now? Is there new written selection criteria? Are we seeing new responsible Head of Delegations?

So why is some people still telling you that MCF should be responsible for sponsorships and uniforms? Did they implement that in the old regime? Why are they trying to reverse any steps forward? Why did they sabotage FGM's training initiative for the Juniors before International Tournaments? There was sponsorship and uniforms wasnt there? It may not have been free but it was heavily subsidised. Wasnt that a step in the right direction?

So why are they asking you to bark up the wrong tree? Do they now need to be held accountable for their actions? Like I said, Asean is now around the corner again. Do the sums, see the results of their sabotage. Now you will barking at the right tree. Stop this and progress can come. Dont be a victim of misdirection. Focus on where the problem is and we will have traction. Stop using MCF like an old punching bag. Punch where it matters, where things can change for the better.

There are many things we can learn from chess. Apply competitor analysis, here, to the problem. What is the result we want and where is the obstacle? It is not personal. It is the result that we want. Identify the blockage and remove it.

Our image is created by us. Look at ourselves first.

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