The BSF Executive held its most recent videoconference meeting on the evening of Thursday 8 April. Below is a journalistic account of the main discussions and decisions.
Present: Ieuan Gale (President), Laura Burkhardt (Treasurer), Liz Graham (Competitions Officer), Alexis Markham-Hill (National Teams Officer), Pete Saunders (Technical Officer), Mike Lott (Coaching Officer), Simon Mortimer (Communications and Marketing Officer), Mike Jennings, Lesley Morisetti and Stella Ackrell (General Officers), Bob Fromer (Administrator).
Guests: Kellie Whitaker (GB Slowpitch).
BSF Affiliation Fees. Given the successful vaccination rollout in the UK and the belief that roadmaps out of lockdown are on course at the present time in England, Scotland and Wales, the BSF considers that an almost full season of league and tournament softball is likely to be possible in 2021. Accordingly, the Executive has decided that full fees – the same fees that were levied in 2019 – will be charged to member teams for the coming season. Registration forms to leagues and independent teams will be sent out shortly and the deadline for payment of fees, as usual, will be 1 June.
Should things take a turn for the worse and the playing season has to be significantly curtailed because of another lockdown, the Executive has decided that the BSF will not make refunds on this year’s fees but will consider adjusting fees next year if possible.
This may depend on whether, should the worst occur, another grant can be obtained from Sport England to help the BSF survive a further loss of income.
Development Grant applications. The BSF has received five applications for Development Grants, some held over from 2020. The Executive has been reluctant to make decisions on these applications until the possibility of a return to play in 2021 became clearer, but with a season now looking likely, these applications will be considered and decided on by 20 April.
Budget reconsideration. The BSF Executive will hold a special meeting on or around 20 May to re-look at the 2020-21 budget in light of return to play possibilities and other developments since the budget was approved by the AGM at the end of February.
Personal Accident and Injury Insurance
General Officer Mike Jennings, who oversees insurance issues for the BSF, told the meeting that he expects commitment from the minimum number of teams necessary for the BSF to be able to purchase affordable Personal Accident and Injury Insurance – around 50 teams – will be achieved shortly.
Once this threshold is reached, the BSF will purchase the insurance for the committed leagues and teams, and can increase the numbers covered if more leagues and teams opt in at a later date.
However, because the BSF will not purchase this insurance until it has commitment from enough teams, members should be aware that there may be a period at the start of the season when coverage is not in effect.
Normally, of course, coverage for those leagues and teams that purchase this insurance continues seamlessly from one year to the next, but the pandemic has meant that no coverage has been in effect since December 2020 and will only resume when the insurance is purchased again.
BSF Safeguarding Officer
The BSF has had no response so far to its advertisement for a Federation Safeguarding Officer, a role central to ensuring that our sport is a safe and positive environment for children and young people and for vulnerable adults.
The position is being re-advertised, and in the meantime the BSF will ask BaseballSoftballUK, which provides safeguarding policies and guidelines for both sports, if they can cover the role.
Archiving material from the old BSF website
To ensure that news stories on the old BSF website going back to 2011 are not lost, the Executive has agreed to a proposal from BSUK Head of Operations Tim Stride, who created the new website, to retain the old site as a news archive, adapt it to the design of the new site and then link the two.
Documents from the Resources section on the old website will be reviewed to see which are still relevant or need updating. Those that need to be public-facing will be uploaded to the new website, but in parallel to this the BSF will create a new shared drive, with appropriate filing and security, for all its documents.
The BSF Executive has decided to cancel the 2021 Single-Sex Slowpitch National Championships, which were scheduled to be held in Birmingham on 26-27 June.
This is based on an insufficient number of teams expressing interest, which makes the tournament financially unviable. Hopefully, this competition will return in 2022.
The BSF Executive will hold its next monthly videoconference meeting on the evening of Thursday 13 May.
Anyone with items to raise at the meeting should contact BSF Administrator Bob Fromer.