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Blast from the Past

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Frisbee, Korfball, and the World Indoor Cricket Federation.

Did you know they play Lawn Bowls in Argentina, and the governing body for the sport there is the Federacion Argentina De Bowls? And did you know that they also play in Brunei, with the Lawn Bowls Association part of the Youth & Sports Dept, Ministry of Culture?

Did you know that the Secretary General of the Netball Association of Lesotho is Makhotso Semakale?

Did you know that New Zealand finished 1999 ranked second in the World Crocquet ratings, behind England and ahead of Australia and the United States? And that the first World Champion was Joe Hogan of New Zealand, who achieved that honour in 1988 at the age of 31?

What about the email address of the Czech Republic's Flying Disc (aka Frisbee) Association? The schedule for the 2002 International Orienteering Federation's World Cup? And what about that International Korfball Federation? Imagine, publishing officially endorsed and internationally accepted rules to all its 35 National Federations - on the 'net.

I have to confess here ... I didn't know any of the above either, until about 40 minutes ago. But it was easy to find out ... I just did a search on "world <insert sport here>", and lo and behold, I found the world governing bodies for each of the sports above.

Now, the important thing here isn't the actual information above, although as a sports fan I find much of it fascinating. No, the important thing here is that each of the sports above (and countless others most of us have never heard of) has its own world governing body. Online. Accessible to fans and supporters. With details of world championships (like our own World Cup), details of the sport's history, and in most cases, a lot of space and effort put into promoting the respective sports and giving them a professional public presence on the 'net.

And note .... they are not all what you'd call 'mainstream' sports. But they are attempting to expand and develop - reading the sponsorship deals the International Croquet Federation gained for their last World Championships, I'd say some of them are outstandingly successful.

But don't bother doing a search for "world indoor cricket" ... well, you can if you like, but you'll only end up back here :-) Ask the right people and you'll be told there is indeed a World Cricket Federation. And if you want to know what they do .... ummm ... who do you call? Well, seeing as there's no-one else around to answer, we'll tell you - the WICF is responsible for the holding of each of the Indoor Cricket World Cups. Amongst other things we assume.

That doesn't mean they don't do other wondrous work. I mean, who knows?

But let's just imagine you were a potential supplier of sponsorship (and I mean serious sponsorship) and knew your stuff, what would you first do? Well, this is what you should do .... research the demographic of the game's players and fans based on the geographical configuration of same (I would have liked to have been able to add here "including the demographics of those that visit the relevant website" . . . but you see the dilemma - even after his death, Joe Heller's Catch-22 still finds plenty of currency). But back to reality - If that matched the research you'd done on your products' market, you'd then research the location, amount and tone of press coverage of the sport over the past 12 months. If that was satisfactory, it's time to look for evidence of the sport's professional approach to promotion, and evidence of a steadily increasing uptake. After that you'd look to the sport's governing body, check out their organisational structure, development plan, and their growth/expansion philosophy. After all that, you'd sit down and decide if you really want to entrust bucket-loads of your money to that body for the privilege of having your company's name associated with that sport. If you're a nationally based sponsor, you'd be looking at the national indoor cricket body in the country of your choice. But what if you were an international company? What if you wanted international (or more correctly, multi-national) exposure. The World Cup? Yes! Okay, first stop would be the international body for the sport, right?. Well, in theory, yes.

Now, can you see which particular blind-alley we're heading into? Well, despite writing a whole heap more on the current situation re: the WICF, we can take a breath and have a rest at this point. It just might be the case that this particular blind-alley is about to open up . . . .

Talk from South Africa is that the national bodies actually met and discussed the very situation we're talking about. That is, the World Indoor Cricket Federation may just be on the verge of 'outing' itself. There's even whispered talk of a web-page.

In anticipation of this proving correct, we would like to be on record as the first to sincerely congratulate those responsible for the initiative, and the first to enthusiastically welcome and endorse it. Regular readers can rest assured however that we will not let our pleasure at this move cloud Soapbox's judgement and/or our expectation of the WICF. In other words, Soapbox will continue to sprout ours and readers' opinions, offer advice (for what it's worth) and dish out brickbats and bouquets as we and our readers see fit. In fact, we're inspired to start right now -

It is hoped the WICF engage the services of a truly committed webmaster, set up a system where information is reported promptly and accurately, have open communication channels between its component parts - whatever is necessary to ensure the website always reflects favourably on the organisation it purports to represent. There is no gloss in the associations people form between an organisation (for arguments sake let's say - a national indoor cricket body) and what is perceived to be that national body's web-site, and the same will of course apply to the WICF and its website. The WICF, by paying full attention to this little bit of advice, would then be able to avoid being considered negatively (through perhaps no fault of their own), by association with any failings of their website. For example (and we know this is stretching the imagination a bit, but who knows, it just possibly could happen), the situation could arise where a full week after a tournament has concluded (for arguments' sake let's call that tournament the World Cup) there were still notes on the website proclaiming the publishing of the best players of that recent tournament would be announced at the conclusion of the tournament. Fanciful we know, but anything is possible . . . .

And because this is our website and we can, we're going to offer one more piece of advice -

A visitor to our site, Barbara, described another aspect of websites in words we couldn't match. She wrote "There is a misconception that web sites have to be fancy, providing incredible graphics, videos, etc. etc. Simple text communciation is enough and I congratulate you on that". An important and highly relevant observation, and one many would do well to have written boldly across their keyboards.

Anyway, let's hope there's more definite news on this development soon - we've got a pretty neat article already written, announcing the launching of the WICF's site and wishing them well. We've also got the links planned and ready to be featured prominently throughout our site - it's just a matter of waiting now.

Genethoi.

Indoor Cricket World
28th October 2000

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