BSF Executive Meeting Report: 15 November 2018

Mon 19 Nov 2018

The BSF Executive held its latest monthly conference call meeting on the evening of Thursday 15 November.  Below is a journalistic report on the main discussions and decisions.


Attendance

Present:  Jenny Fromer (President), Laura Burkhardt (Treasurer), Liz Graham (Competitions Director), Steve Getraer (General Officer), Mike Jennings (General Officer), Chris Moon (BASU Representative).

Apologies:  Stella Ackrell (Administrator).

Guest:  Bob Fromer (BSUK).


2019 Membership Fees proposal

The Executive approved the proposal for a new and simplified membership fee structure for 2019, which had previously been discussed at the group’s Face-to-Face meeting in October. 

Details will be included in an article to be published on the BSF website later this month, and will also be published in the 2019 AGM Pack which will be available for download at the beginning of February.


2019 BSF budget

BSF Treasurer Laura Burkhardt is working on the BSF’s budget for 2018-19, and the Executive will discuss and approve the budget at its next conference call meeting on 6 December.  The budget, plus accounts for 2017-18, will then be presented to the membership in the 2019 BSF AGM Pack for approval at the AGM.

Laura told the Executive that accounts for 2017-18 will go to the BSF’s auditors in mid-December and should be completed and signed off in January.


Plans for NSL 3

The BSF now plans for NSL 3 league play to begin in 2019 (details can be found on the BSF website here).  The structure will include Northern and Southern Divisions of eight teams each, with league games to be played over two weekends at existing tournaments in the North and South (but not at the Diamond Series).

At the moment, there is a waiting list of teams keen to have places in NSL 3 North, while all places have been filled in NSL 3 South. 

Liz has been talking to tournament organisers around the country to see which tournaments would be interested in hosting NSL 3 play and has met with a positive response.  In the North, the Manchester and Sefton Shield Tournaments are interested in hosting NSL 3, as are the Bristol Main and Windsor Tournaments in the South.

Should the Manchester Tournament host NSL 3 North play, the mandatory helmets rule at this tournament would be in effect, but this shouldn’t cause many issues as the majority of teams that have applied for NSL 3 North already play in leagues where helmets are mandatory.

Liz will be talking to other tournaments to widen the list of potential NSL 3 hosts.

Meanwhile, Liz reported that Birmingham City University has confirmed the availability of their Moor Lane Sports Ground in Perry Barr for the 2019 Single-Sex Slowpitch Nationals on the weekend of 22-23 June next year.


Grants for National Teams

Bob Fromer told the Executive that after years of funding only Olympic and Paralympic sports with proven medal potential, the government agency UK Sport, following a public consultation in the summer, has suddenly reversed course and made a £3 million pot – called the Aspiration Fund – available for application by unfunded Olympic and Paralympic sports to help them qualify teams or athletes for Tokyo 2020.

Applications for the GB Women’s Fastpitch Team and the GB Baseball Team have been submitted to the Aspiration Fund, and awards are expected to be announced by 11 December.  If the application for GB Softball is successful, it will enable the GB Women’s Team to undertake a much more ambitious programme of preparation for next year’s Europe/Africa Olympic Qualifier, which will be played in September.

GB’s main rivals for the one Olympic place available to Europe and Africa – the Dutch, the Italians and the Czechs – all have substantial public funding and are able to train and compete together far more often than the GB Women’s Team can.

Meanwhile, another grant application to support the GB Women’s Team in 2019 has been made to the World Baseball Softball Confederation’s Team Support Grant programme, and a decision will hopefully be made before Christmas.


BSF website revision

Discussions have been ongoing between the BSF and BSUK about revisions to the BSF website which are planned to be ready for the start of the 2019 playing season.

However, before decisions are made, the BSF wants to bring the membership into the process, and will do this by conducting a membership survey before Christmas and arranging for focus groups involving BSF leagues and other softball organisations in January.  There will also be a joint BSF-BSUK meeting to brainstorm ideas.


2019 BSF AGM

The BSF has now confirmed that its 2019 AGM, scheduled for Saturday 23 February, will be held at the same venue as in 2017 – the Metropolitan Police Bushey Sports Club, Aldenham Road, Bushey, Herts WD23 2TR.  

On that day, in addition to the formal AGM, the BSF will run its annual League Heads Forum meeting in the morning and is planning a webinar in the afternoon on the subject of concussion, with slides from the presentation to be shared afterwards with BSF leagues and teams.

More details on the AGM will be published soon on the BSF website.


Insurance

After extensive research and consultation by the BSF and BSUK, the BSF will be changing its insurance provider for 2019 and beyond to a firm called Sports Insure.

The firm will offer a dedicated insurance portal that links to the BSF website so that players can see what's covered, get all the details of the policy and make claims directly. 

The move to a new insurer also gives the BSF the chance to achieve one of its key aims, which is to provide all affiliated players with accident and injury insurance as well as civil liability cover.  But the BSF will have to see if the cost of this, which the Federation would absorb, is affordable.


BSF roles

An article published in October on the BSF website asked for volunteers from the softball community to help with a number of tasks and roles, and this was reinforced by a Newsflash that went out earlier in November.

This publicity has generated some response, with a number of people coming forward to offer help with areas such as the BSF website and social media, tournament organisation, development liaison with BaseballSoftballUK and national team uniform provision. 

BSF President Jenny Fromer will follow up on these offers – but a lot more help is still needed.


BSF Annual and Coaching Awards

These awards are now open for nominations, and the BSF is also looking for nominations for positions on the BSF Executive and motions or proposals to the AGM. 

More information on the awards and Executive positions can be found here and a form to make nominations for coaching and volunteer awards can be found here.  


BASU

BASU representative Chris Moon reported that BASU is planning to run another two-day Advanced Umpire Course in 2019 following the success of the course this year.  The 2019 edition will be held in the North, in conjunction with an early-season tournament, so that umpires on the course get to demonstrate the knowledge acquired on Saturday at a tournament on Sunday.

The course is by invitation only, and 6-12 participants will be invited.  The costs are absorbed by BASU, and the course is free to those invited to take part.


BSUK Board and Committees

Jenny Fromer and Laura Burkhardt reported that BaseballSoftballUK is streamlining its committee structure and following its AGM on 25 November is expected to have just three standing committees going forward: for Finance, Governance and Safeguarding, and Development/Commercial.

Farnham Park, one of BSUK’s most important operations and assets, will probably be a major concern for both the Finance and the Development/Commercial committees.

BaseballSoftballUK, which only received funding for two instead of four years in 2017, has just submitted its funding application to Sport England for 2019-21 and should know the outcome in December.


Next meeting

The next BSF Executive conference call will be on Thursday 6 December.

Anyone with a topic or issue to bring to the meeting should contact BSF Administrator Stella Ackrell.

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