BSF Executive Meeting Report: 14 October 2020

Mon 19 Oct 2020

The BSF Executive held its most recent video conference meeting on the evening of Wednesday 14 October.  Below is a journalistic report on the main discussions and decisions.


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

Apologies:  Mike Lott (Coaching Officer).

Return to Play

The BSF has heard from eight leagues about their experiences in returning to play (or in some cases deciding not to do so) after government regulations made this possible at the beginning of August.

There has been a wide variety in the amount and kind of activity undertaken, but thankfully, no cases of Covid-19 appear to have resulted from softball play.

Guidance regarding indoor play during the off-season is currently a  moving picture, and the chance of indoor play in the short term, based on the latest restrictions, appears to be slim.


A draft budget for 2021 was presented to the Executive at its September meeting by BSF Treasurer Laura Burkhardt.  Laura reported that there had been little change to the numbers over the past month apart from a reduction in the likely cost to the BSF of staging the Softball World Series Tournament in 2021 at Farnham Park as opposed to the traditional venue in Cranford.

Any reductions in costs are welcome, because as it stands, the 2021-21 budget, if fully spent, would eat into the BSF’s already-reduced reserves.  Some “hard decisions”, as politicians like to say, may need to be made before the budget is presented to the AGM in February.

There have also been few changes to the actuals for 2019-20 since the BSF’s financial year ended on 30 September, and Laura will do a final check to identify any liabilities still outstanding.

The Executive decided to add £1000 to its budget line for legal costs in 2020-21 against the possibility that the current tripartite Agreement defining the relationship between the BSF, the BBF and BSUK may need to be renegotiated.

Finally, the Executive agreed that any further substantive decisions on the budget for 2020-21 should wait until January, when more information may be available on what kind of season the pandemic will allow in 2021 and what the financial implications will be.

Hall of Fame nominations

The call for Hall of Fame nominations currently on the BSF website has so far resulted in eight nominations, mainly for coaches.

Nominations can be made until 5.00 pm on Friday 27 November, and full details of categories and criteria can be found here.

BSF website

Work continues to progress on a new BSF website being developed by Tim Stride at BaseballSoftballUK, and the Executive recently had a chance to see more layouts and pages.

The plan is for the site to be finished before the end of the year so that content can be uploaded and the site can go live early in 2021.

International matters

With a World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) Commission currently considering what World Cups to stage next year in light of income lost to the pandemic in 2020, Mike Jennings reported that WBSC Europe President Gabriel Waage has a keen interest in the event and will continue to support its inclusion in the World Cup programme. 

Mixed Slowpitch demonstrates the sport’s commitment to a fully gender-inclusive discipline, and slowpitch games proceed with few pauses or interruptions: like Baseball 5, they provide more continuous action within tighter timescales than fastpitch or baseball.  Hopefully, this will make the format appealing to the Commission.

BSF Face-to-Face Meeting

For a number of years, the BSF Executive, which usually meets monthly by teleconference or, more recently, by video conference, has traditionally held a weekend face-to-face meeting in the autumn to allow more in-depth discussion on key issues and to prepare for the AGM and the following season.

This year, the pandemic will make a face-to-face meeting impossible, but it is clear that day-long video conference meetings are not a good alternative.

BSF President Jenny Fromer and Administrator Bob Fromer have been tasked with drawing up a streamlined agenda containing only the most important and complex items, identifying who needs to attend each of these discussions, and then setting up a series of video conference meetings in November and December to explore these items and reach decisions to be brought back to the full Executive and, in some cases, the AGM.

National Teams

BSF National Teams Officer Alexis Markham-Hill told the Executive that staff from GB female fastpitch teams are making good progress with setting up working groups across the various teams to create more coherence throughout the programme and to provide opportunities for up-skilling. 

A meeting of physiotherapists from different teams was held recently, and a Head Coaches meeting is upcoming.

Alexis also reported that there has been significant interest from GB National Team staff members in contributing to or being part of a new GB Management Committee (GBMC), which should be formed by the end of October.  The Committee will include at least one representative from women’s and men’s fastpitch and from slowpitch in addition to Alexis as National Teams Officer and Alyson Spinas-Valainis as the BSF/BSUK Fastpitch Development Manager.


BSF Technical Officer Chris Moon reported that a group including himself, Mike Jennings, Pete Saunders and Chris Lunn has been hard at work creating a series of modules for online umpire training, since holding umpire courses in person may not be possible next year.

A great deal of the work is being put in by BASU umpire Chris Lunn, who works professionally as an animator and is creating exciting animations for the modules.

The final results are expected to not just be used to run umpire courses in the UK but will be shared with national and regional Federations around the world.

Feedback from BSUK Board and Committee Meetings

Since the BSF Executive last met, Jenny Fromer has attended a meeting of the BSUK Governance Committee, where safeguarding was on the agenda.

The BSF is required to have a Safeguarding Officer for the Federation as a whole.  Jenny has served in that position during her Presidency, but a new Safeguarding Officer will need to be in place by the 2021 BSF AGM in February, when Jenny will be stepping down.

A BSF Safeguarding Officer does not necessarily need to be a member of the BSF Executive but would report to the Executive as required.

Anyone with a strong safeguarding background who is interested in this essential position should contact Jenny Fromer

Next meeting

The next video conference meeting of the BSF Executive will be held on the evening of Thursday 12 November.

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

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