Bristol & District Chess League Forum

ECF Finance Council Meeting
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Author:  Ben_Edgell [ Thu Mar 22, 2012 9:06 pm ]
Post subject:  ECF Finance Council Meeting

The ECF Finance Council Meeting takes place on April 14th. If there are any questions etc you want me to raise at the meeting, either reply here or send me an email etc (my contact details are on the Bristol Chess site under 'Contact Us').

The list of documents for the meeting is here:

A few highlights from the documents if you don't fancy looking through them all (and I wouldn't blame you if you didn't):

The membership scheme will come in is Sept. 1st. There will also be news on the ECF's plans for becoming a member online.

Andrew Farthing will be not be standing for re-election as ECF CEO in October.

The ECF has taken FIDE to court over the number of Vice Presidents that were elected at the FIDE Meeting in January (too many VP's were elected is the allegation). All legal fees have been paid by an undisclosed third party.

The ECF made a considerable loss last year, and is budgeted to make a small loss in 2012/13.

There are some interesting proposals regarding the membership scheme and junior players. I've put the details in the ECF topic, rather than this one.

Author:  Ben_Edgell [ Sun Apr 15, 2012 3:11 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: ECF Finance Council Meeting

Highlights from the ECF Finance Council Meeting, including changes to the ECF Membership Scheme:

The online system for signing up/ renewing etc membership is going to be contracted out to a company called CVent. They are expecting to be up and running well ahead of 1st September, but no specific date was given. It'll cost £5800pa to the ECF, which will be offset by a reduction in salaries for the staff at the ECF Office. It can't do batch memberships, however, so if anyone is planning to incorporate the membership fee into their club fees they'll have to send all member's details to the Office, who'll then input them one-by one. The discount will still apply as with online membership, but it'll be paid directly to the club/ organisation who'll then have the option of paying it back to each member or not.

There was an update on the ECF's lawsuit with FIDE. The ECF was originally hoping for a decision in time to report it to the meeting, but that hasn't proven to be the case. The new expected date is end of April, although apparently FIDE have said they have no idea at this point when the decision is due. The 3rd party underwriting all legal costs/ potential liabilites is Kasparov International, which I would imagine is a company set up specifically for Kasparov's finances. The meeting was unhappy with the decision to enter into the lawsuit, feeling that the best case would be that we win, a couple of Vice Presidents step down, and FIDE ups its fees to meet the costs, whilst the worst case could be we lose and suffer through FIDE essentially blacklisting us, with no-one from the ECF invited to arbit at FIDE events etc. Subsequently the meeting voted to reject the report. For anyone interested, I voted for rejecting the report.

During the first half of the meeting Alex McFarlane, Lara Barnes, and David Welch were very vocal about the t-shirt incident at the British Championships. This, along with his mis-handling of the sponsorship for the same event (as mentioned in the report by the Chairman of the Finance Committee) lead to a motion eventually being filed 'The recent conduct of the President brings the performance of his role into question and calls for a full review of his position.' It was defeated by 93-84. I voted against the motion. Although several aspects of CJ's Presidency so far this year have been disappointing, the motion seemed very close to just calling for him to resign, and to introduce it into the meeting on the day doesn't give CJ any chance to defend himself. At the AGM in October CJ will have to write a President's Report explaining his work this year, and will hopefully make an appearance to answer questions. In my opinion then is the time to judge his presidency, and vote either for his re-election, another candidate, or none of the above.

This wasn't brought up at the meeting, but came up in a discussion during the mid-meeting break. The British Championships in '13 is being held in Torquay. As its the ECF's centenary Championships they'd like to make it as special an event as possible. Subsequently I've been asked to ask whether anyone might be able to provide voluntary help event, or might know a potential sponsor. Its a long way off (August '13) but keep it in mind all the same.

For the Membership Scheme, the 3yr fees will now only include the same £1 discount as per the 1yr membership fees. The justification is that the primary benefit of paying for a 3yr membership is to protect the individual from any price increases that may occur through inflation. So the 3yr prices are now Bronze: £38, Silver: £56, Gold: £83. Proposals to remove the online discount entirely, and to increase the 1yr membership prices by £2 in all categories were both defeated.

Again with the Membership Scheme, the change in game fee at 85% of people becoming members has been removed. I voted in favour of this, believing it would simplify things for league treasurers. The meeting then voted by 92- 84 in favour of the fees being £2 per slowplay game, and £1 per rapid. I voted for £1 sp, £0.50 rp.

Game fee for games only involving juniors has been substantially reduced to 50p for slowplay games, and 25p for rapidplay. Several junior events, including the Wiltshire and West of England Congress, were planning to simply not grade most sections, and now may well have a change of heart. Also, the cost for juniors to upgrade from Bronze to Silver Membership is now £4, as opposed to the £6 adults pay.

Andrew Farthing, the ECF CEO, seemed rather disheartened by the changes to the Membership Scheme, although in my opinion the changes would, if anything, lead to an increased income for the ECF. The planned budget will have to be changed now, and if he feels the need to reduce the budget of any area to offset losses, it will be the interenational chess budget (the England teams for Olympiad, European Team Champs etc) that will feel the sting.

There were several consultation papers that were very quickly skimmed through, as the meeting ran short of time. The main one of interest is one for rule changes in the county championships. Given we only got to this paper 5 minutes before the scheduled finish time of the meeting, it was difficult to guage opinions, but the main suggested rule changes as I understand them are to use January grades to determine eligibilty for anyone ungraded in July, in spite of falling outside the grading period by a couple of days an exemption will be made to allow the final of the Championships to be included in the grading list for the current season, it will be compulsorary to email match results, as opposed to post them, everyone will have to be an ECF Member for county matches at national stages, but at union stage it'll be optional, and a 10 point rule, similar to the 4ncl, where people can only play above or below their place in grading order as long as the people above/ below them are within 10 grading points.

The venue for the '13 AGM will be somewhere in Birmingham, but the meeting ran out of time before specifics could be discussed (its a rule that it can't last more then 5 hrs, apparently). Also the BCF meeting that was planned to take place during the mid-meeting break, didn't happen to the best of my knowledge.

Author:  geoffgammon [ Mon Apr 16, 2012 12:57 am ]
Post subject:  Re: ECF Finance Council Meeting

Ben, thank you for what seems to be an excellent report on the Meeting on Saturday.

My one disappointment was your reasons for opposing the motion on the conduct of the President. In your subsequent post on the ECF forum your call for a line to be drawn under the matter was in essence supported by Andrew Zigmond and Alex McFarlane but both pointed out the the President has been able to resolve the situation since September 2011 but in Andrew's words 'has dismally failed to do so'.

I agree that the motion was close to a call to resign and Alex stated that the show of hands before the card vote indicated the result would have been very different had the Board not voted to protect him. Alex also stated that he would place an appropriate motion before the AGM.

The link in your post of 22nd March also connects to the President's Report from the AGM October 2011, did he not have ample opportunity to resolve the matter on that occasion? The report appears to studiously avoid mention of his work in that year leave alone his controversial actions mere weeks earlier.

The ECF website lists Nigel Short as CJ's alternate as President and others have observed this to be the case since the British Championships yet neither were present at the meeting.

The matter is still ongoing because the ECF Board has never addressed it and has wanted to draw your line under it from the outset.

I wish to make clear that I am not complaining about the way you voted, you were given no direction that I am aware of, certainly not from myself. I am disagreeing with your reasons for your decision.

I reiterate my thanks for an excellent report.

Author:  Ben_Edgell [ Mon Apr 16, 2012 9:41 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: ECF Finance Council Meeting

Hi Geoff,

I appreciate your points, and certainly I would like CJ, along with the rest of the ECF Board, to make a concerted effort to resolve this issue as so far the perception (which may well be correct) is that CJ has shied away from it. I hope the motion, and the closeness of the vote, acts as a motivator for him to do this.

If the motion had been one along the lines of urging him to make greater efforts to reach a resolution on the issue I would have voted in favour, but given the amount he has done (and aside from the incident at the British that has soured his Presidency, he has done a lot, in fairness) I couldn't vote in favour of a no-confidence motion produced on the day.

Author:  geoffgammon [ Tue Apr 17, 2012 1:49 am ]
Post subject:  Re: ECF Finance Council Meeting

Hi Ben,

I certainly applaud what CJ has achieved as President and I know where you are coming from in that respect but we are in the eighth month since 'teashirt gate' and I know of nothing significant that he has done since. I find it difficult to believe that he will again function as positively as he once did and if he feels the same he should walk away instead of leaving us in this limbo. The Board could have made the decision for him but, I assume, are hoping against hope for normal service to be resumed. Alex McFarlane, incredibly, is still amenable to some form of conciliation but I fear it has gone on too long for CJ to avoid losing face.

As you correctly pointed out the situation needs to be resolved if only to allow Council to focus on other matters but as things stand I see no prospect of that, regrettably.

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