By Bob Fromer

The 2024 British Softball Federation AGM, held as a remote meeting on the afternoon of Saturday 24 February, set a record for attendance, with 83 people joining the meeting online, and was also the BSF’s shortest-ever AGM, lasting just over an hour.

In addition to the election of Officers and the announcement of BSF Annual Award winners and a new class of inductees to the BSF Hall of Fame – including a Lifetime Achievement Award for Mike Jennings -- the key piece of business conducted at the AGM was the passage of a motion making individual player registration mandatory for the 2024 season and beyond. 

The meeting was chaired by BSF President Lesley Morisetti, and apologies were received from BSF National Teams Officer Alice Hunter, BSF General Officer Jordan Cooper, and from Gordon Morris.  Of the 83 attendees, 72 were voting members.

The meeting was recorded, and anyone interested in hearing the recording should contact

Quickfire approvals

In the first part of the meeting, voting members at the AGM were asked to approve Minutes from the 2023 AGM (70 in favour with two abstentions), the 2022-23 Accounts Summary and the 2023-24 Budget (68 in favour with four abstentions), and the proposed affiliation fees for 2024 (68 in favour, two against, and two abstentions).

Basic affiliation fees are remaining the same for all categories of teams in 2024, but the BSF Executive’s recent decision to make Personal Accident and Injury insurance mandatory for all affiliated teams means that fees for teams that hadn’t taken up this insurance previously will rise by £20 this year.

London Advertising Softball League (LASL) President Alan MacFarlane explained to the meeting why both Personal Accident insurance and individual player registration might be problematic for a corporate league, and Lesley Morisetti will talk further with Alan to see what the BSF can do to help.

AGM reports

The 2024 AGM Pack contained reports from BSF President Lesley Morisetti, Competitions Officer Liz Graham, and Fastpitch Development Officer Laura Hirai, as well as a report on national teams and club teams that played in Europe in 2023, and a link to a report on the Olympic aspirations of the GB Women’s Fastpitch programme by Performance Director Gary Anderson.

No questions were raised at the AGM about any of these reports, all which can be found in the 2024 AGM Pack on the BSF website.  

Annual Awards and BSF Hall of Fame

The BSF presented seven Annual Awards at the AGM, inducted eight new members into the BSF Hall of Fame, and presented its second-ever Lifetime Achievement Award to Mike Jennings for decades of service to BASU, the BSF, the European and International Softball Federations, and now to the World Baseball Softball Confederation Europe.

Details for all of these awards can be found in this article on the BSF website, and, for Mike Jennings, on this website page.  

The Annual Awards, mostly relating to the 2023 season, were:

Glover Cup
Keith Jamson

League Glover Cup
Bristol Softball Association

President’s Club Award
The Mob

Tournament of the Year
The Codebreakers Cup

Youth Team of the Year
MK Dinky Diamonds

Young Fastpitch Player of the Year
Edan Lord

Betsy Holden Award
Megan Longman

Lifetime Achievement Award
Mike Jennings

New Hall of Fame inductees were:

Georgina Corrick
Richard Haldane
Chiya Louie
Steph Pearce

John Lehmann

Team Manager
Steve Fullan

Pete Saunders

Alan Le Marquand

Trophies will be presented to most Award winners and Hall of Fame inductees at tournaments during the coming reason.

Election of Officers

Some members of the BSF Executive were serving the second year of a two-year term, others were running for a new term of office, and a number of people who had been co-opted onto the Executive since the 2023 AGM were running for their first term as an elected Officer.

All were running unopposed, so voting members could either vote for the candidate or could cast their vote for NOTA (None of the Above).

All candidates were elected with near-unanimous majorities, with a sprinkling of NOTA votes.  As a result, the BSF Executive for 2024 will be:

Lesley Morisetti

Laura Burkhardt

Competitions and Membership Officer
Liz Graham

National Teams Officer
Dr Alice Hunter

Jessica Hastings

Safeguarding Officer
Stella Ackrell

Fastpitch Development Officer
Laura Hirai

Technical Officer
Pete Saunders

General Officers
Nicola-Jayne Dyson (2026 European Slowpitch Championship Co-ordinator)
Shiraz Mehra (Legal)
Jordan Cooper (Marketing)

The Executive still has two vacant positions – Slowpitch Development Officer and Communications Officer – and anyone interested in either position should email

Motion to the AGM

The BSF Executive presented the following motion to the AGM: That individual player registration on a platform designated by the BSF will be mandatory for all players on all affiliated teams for the 2024 season and in future.

The rationale for the motion was that safeguarding requirements from the government have tightened following the Whyte Review into the recent scandal in British Gymnastics, and all National Governing Bodies of Sport (NGBs) are required to maintain a record of their members.  Individual player registration will be done under all relevant privacy and GDPR regulations, and when registering, players will be able to choose which questions they answer and what data they provide, although name, date of birth, and email address will be mandatory.  The BSF also welcomes the ability that player registration will provide to communicate, on a limited basis, with individual members to provide important information when necessary.  BSUK will not have the ability to use this data to communicate to BSF members.

The BSF Executive supported this motion, and it had also been supported by League Heads who attended a special meeting on the subject on 10 January.  Depending on which registration platform the BSF chooses, leagues should be able to import data directly into the system, and team captains, if they choose, will be able to register all their players.

In answer to a question, it was confirmed that optional registration questions will contain a range of gender options and will allow the BSF to obtain a greater level of equalities information.

A further question was whether there would be any cost for player registration.  Lesley Morisetti told the meeting that there would be no registration fee this year, and any fee going forward would be small and would be dependent on the cost of the registration platform to the BSF.

The motion was passed with a vote of 51 in favour, eight against, and four abstentions.

BSUK update

Acting BSUK Head of Development Leah Holmes gave the meeting a quick update on a number of development initiatives:

MLB London Series:  The London Series will be back in 2024 with games between the New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies at the London Stadium in June, and Leah reported on development projects being delivered as part of the MLB Legacy programme.  Although the majority of the programme is focused on London, due to it being the London Series host city, there have also been benefits nationwide.  There is a strong youth focus to the work, which includes Baseball5 delivery within community group settings, secondary school Girls’ Fastpitch programming, and a generic baseball/softball primary school programme called First Pitch.  Existing softball leagues, clubs, or teams can establish links with these programmes, and clubs developing youth sections are encouraged to get in touch as they may be able to access both resource and ideas from them.

University softball:  Leah told the meeting that softball has now been officially recognised by BUCS (British Universities and Colleges Sport) for three years, and that 20 universities are taking part this year, up from 17 in 2023.  These teams play in regional divisions, and the season culminates with National University Championships at Farnham Park, which this year will be (weather permitting) on 16-17 March.  BSUK is looking for ways to make the Nationals experience better by providing activities alongside the competions, and this year the final will be streamed both on the BUCS YouTube channel and BSUK TV.  The BSF will have a presence at the Nationals as part of a campaign to help university players move into mainstream softball rather than give up the sport after university.

Slowpitch Academy:  BSUK’s Slowpitch Academy proved popular in 2023 and will continue in 2024.  It is likely to follow a similar model to last year, with more short clinic sessions at tournaments during the outdoor season and longer sessions regionally during the winter.  Leagues and tournament organisers are encouraged to get in touch if they are interested in hosting any sessions.

Captains’ Support:  A package of support aimed  at softball team captains -- both new and more experienced -- will be rolled out soon following a number of meetings held by the project’s Steering Group, which included experienced team captains from different leagues.  The package will consist of:

  • Centralised resources for team captains on the BSUK website.
  • Informal online get-togethers between experienced and inexperienced captains to talk about subjects such as tournament preparation, scoring, base coaching, etc.
  • A “buddy system” so that new captains can be monitored and supported.

BSUK Facilities Fund:  Leah told the meeting that the deadline for support from this round of BSUK’s Facilities Fund had just closed, and this year’s applications included two applications from softball clubs.  An announcement of awards will be made by the end of April.

Women and girls’ recruitment:  A number of slowpitch leagues are currently taking part in a pilot project aimed at recruiting more women and girls to the sport by identifying and mitigating barriers to participation, based on the recognition that these barriers may not be the same for all leagues or areas.

Tournament provision:  In answer to a question, Leah confirmed that the continued existence of the three-tournament Northwest Series that BSUK has run in Manchester over the past few years, and the LGBTQ+ Tournaments that BSUK has run nationally, are both under review for 2024 but that a final decision has yet to be made.

BASU update

In the absence of BSF Technical Officer Pete Saunders, who was at a European umpire conference in Malta, Lesley Morisetti, who is both BSF President and BASU’s Assistant Umpire-in-Chief, gave a quick update.

Eight leagues are running the online BASU qualification course this year, which will hopefully produce a sizeable number of new umpires.  Most of these will no doubt umpire at league level, but Lesley urged any umpires who want to try umpiring at national level to let BASU know.  A great deal of support is provided by BASU for new umpires getting started at tournaments.

BASU fastpitch umpire David Hurley also put out a call for current slowpitch umpires to try fastpitch umpiring at the Great Britain Fastpitch League (GBFL) this year.  The rules are not that different from slowpitch, David said, and there is a buddy system available to provide support.

Lesley Morisetti reinforced the call for more fastpitch umpires to help the BSF meet its obligation to send an umpire to a European tournament for every British national or club team that plays in an official WBSC Europe competition.

Close of play

The AGM, which had started just after 2.00 pm, was officially closed just after 3.00, making it 15 minutes shorter than the 2023 AGM, and reinforcing the point that there is much less discussion at online AGMs than there used to be when AGMs, pre-pandemic, were held in person.

Nevertheless, the meeting voted to continue with remote AGMs in future, with 64 in favour, two in favour of in-person meetings, and seven with no preference.