BSF Executive Meeting Report: 13 August 2020

Mon 17 Aug 2020

The BSF Executive held its most recent video conference meeting on the evening of Thursday 13 August.  Below is a journalistic report on the main discussions and decisions.


Attendance

Present:  Jenny Fromer (President), Laura Burkhardt (Treasurer), Liz Graham (Competitions Officer), Chris Moon (Technical Officer), Mike Jennings (General Officer), Bob Fromer (Administrator).

Apologies:  Alexis Markham-Hill (National Teams Officer), Mike Lott (Coaching Officer), Stella Ackrell and Steve Getraer (General Officers).


Finance

BSF Treasurer Laura Burkhardt reported that there has been little expenditure over the summer and the BSF still has around £40,000 in the bank.

With the BSF’s financial year ending on 30 September, Laura will work with BSF President Jenny Fromer during August on a draft budget for 2020-21, to be considered by the Executive at its next meeting on 10 September.  The budget will be discussed more thoroughly when the BSF holds its annual weekend meeting in November and will be brought to the AGM in February for approval. 

Because of the losses suffered by the BSF this year due to the lack of membership fees, partly mitigated by a £20,000 grant from Sport England, the 2020-21 budget will need to balance discretionary expenditure with the need to rebuild the BSF’s reserves, and, as previously notified, this may lead to a rise in membership fees and/or temporary surcharges.  The Executive will do its best to keep these to a minimum, consistent with achieving its main objectives.


International issues

Slowpitch World Cup.  Mike Jennings told the meeting that the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) Board has acknowledged proposals submitted for holding the first-ever Co-ed Slowpitch World Cup for national teams in 2021, and that these proposals will hopefully be discussed by the Board when it meets at the end of August 2020.

Softball Europe intends to write to all members of the WBSC Board – a letter that Mike will compose – to argue that as international softball tries to recover from the pandemic, the addition of an inclusive event like a Co-ed Slowpitch World Cup can be helpful to the process.

Bat regulations.  Meanwhile, Mike Jennings, Chris Moon and Brian Connolly, on behalf of Softball Europe, are checking the bat regulations to be used in European slowpitch competitions in 2021.  There is a possibility, however, that these may not be the regulations applied by the WBSC to a Slowpitch World Cup.


Insurance

The BSF and BaseballSoftballUK are still waiting for a response from our insurers to a proposal made to extend the term of coverage at no additional cost because of the lack of play this season.


Return to Play

Softball games or training sessions involving a maximum of 30 participants have been possible since 3 August in most areas of England and Wales under Return to Play regulations and protocols developed by BaseballSoftballUK and approved by the government through the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

The BSF Executive would like to acknowledge the excellent work carried out by BSUK, and especially by Head of Commercial Joelle Watkins, to put these regulations together and get them approved on softball’s behalf.

The BSF intends to survey League Heads during August to find out what kind of softball play, if any, has been taking place around the UK.


National Championships

Competitions Officer Liz Graham reported that dates have been agreed and facilities booked for all BSF National Championships in 2021:

BSF Single-Sex Slowpitch National Championships
June 26-27 at Moor Lane Sports Ground, Birmingham

BSF Co-ed Slowpitch League National Championships
August 7-8 at Farnham Park

BSF Co-ed Slowpitch NSL National Championships
September 4-5 at Farnham Park

In addition, Liz told the meeting that dates have been agreed for Diamond Series tournaments and NSL league play for next season.  Diamond Series events, all at Farnham Park, will take place on:

May 15-16
June 5-6
July 17-18


National Teams

BSF National Teams Officer Alexis Markham-Hill was unable to attend the meeting, but let the Executive know that interviews were under way to select a new Head Coach for the GB Under-18 Women’s Fastpitch Team following the resignation of Robbie Robison earlier this year.

She has also let the Executive know that plans for a January training camp in Florida for a number of GB Women’s Fastpitch Teams ranging from Under-15 to Senior have had to be abandoned because of uncertainties caused by the levels of the pandemic in the United States as well as financial issues.


Meeting dates

The Executive has agreed on two key winter meeting dates, though what happens with regard to Covid-19 in the UK over the next few months will determine how these meetings can be held.

  • The Executive’s annual The BSF Executive held its most recent video conference meeting on the evening of Thursday 13 August.  Click through for a journalistic report on the main discussions and decisions.has been scheduled for 21-22 November 2020, though whether the meeting can indeed be “face-to-face”, either in whole or in part, remains to be seen.  This is the Executive’s most important meeting each year, when detailed planning for the coming season is carried out and a range of issues explored in depth.
     
  • The 2021 BSF AGM has been scheduled for Saturday 27 February and will be in the South if an in-person meeting can be held.  Because of the uncertainty surrounding this, and the fact that some people may not want to risk attendance at an in-person meeting if held, attendance at the 2020 AGM will be counted for purposes of team eligibility for National Championships in 2021.  The 2021 AGM, whether in person or virtual, will include another round of BSF Hall of Fame awards.


BASU

BASU Technical Officer Chris Moon told the meeting that a lot of hard work has been going on over the summer to put BASU courses online for 2021.

Chris stressed that this is not just a hedge against the possibility of the pandemic continuing or worsening.  If a lot of the basic course information can be imparted online, then when a course convenes in person, more time can be devoted to on-field work and assessment as opposed to classroom activity.


Next meeting

The next BSF Executive video conference meeting will be held on the evening of Thursday 10 September.

Anyone with matters to bring to the meeting should contact BSF Administrator Bob Fromer.  

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