BSF Executive Meeting Report: 16 April 2020

Mon 20 Apr 2020

The BSF Executive held its latest conference call meeting on the evening of Thursday 16 April.  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), Mike Lott (Coaching Officer), Chris Moon (Technical Officer), Mike Jennings (General Officer), Bob Fromer (Administrator).

Covid-19 actions

On behalf of the Executive, BSF President Jenny Fromer has written to League Heads about what will happen to BSF affiliation fees in 2020 depending on whether there is a partial season or a full cancellation.

Meanwhile, Diamond Tournament organisers said on Facebook that no one should pay entry fees at the moment; if and when play becomes possible, new deadlines will be announced.  If no Diamond tournaments are able to be held this year, teams that have paid entry fees will receive full refunds.


BSF Treasurer Laura Burkhardt has updated the BSF budget for the year, and most importantly cash flow projections, based on the latest information and on a worst-case scenario of no play being possible in 2020 and the BSF therefore receiving no affiliation fee income.

Although the BSF will use up almost all its reserves (which were £55,400 at the start of the 2019-20 financial year) fulfilling existing commitments and making non-discretionary payments in 2020, Laura told the Executive that the Federation may be able to reach the end of the year with a small amount of money remaining in the bank rather than going into the red.  Even if this turns out to be the case -- and there are still a number of uncertainties about BSF spending in 2020 -- it will be imperative for the BSF to try to rebuild its reserves over the next few seasons.

BaseballSoftballUK has been very helpful in the current situation by agreeing to curtail the work it would normally do for the BSF under the Service Level Agreement between the two organisations and by raising the possibility that some payments can be deferred.

BSUK is also working with the BSF on the possibility of the Federation applying for a grant from Sport England to support the organisation’s finances, especially if it looks like the BSF might end its financial year in the red.

Upgrading the BSF website

A project to revise and upgrade the BSF website has been underway since last year, with BaseballSoftballUK Head of Operations Tim Stride doing the work.

Tim has estimated that it will cost £3000 to complete the overhaul, and has pointed out that with many BSUK operations reduced for the moment, this will be an ideal time for him to work on the project.

For this reason, and based on the latest budget and cash flow projections described above, the Executive has decided to proceed with the work.  BSUK has offered that, if necessary, payment can be spread out beyond this financial year.

Looking to 2021

The current terms of BSF President Jenny Fromer and other members of the Executive will expire at the end of this year, and though the intentions of other Executive members about running for another term are not yet known, Jenny intends to step down as President after the AGM in February 2021.

From the standpoint of continuity and efficiency, it would be very helpful if people can be identified this year who are willing to take on the role of BSF President, and if those people could shadow Jenny and work with the Executive during the rest of 2020 to be better prepared to take up the role.

Jenny will write to League Heads about this in hopes they can help identify suitable candidates.

International issues

Mike Jennings has attended recent ESF Board meetings where competition issues have been discussed in light of the Covid-19 situation, and was able to update the BSF Executive on the following:

ESF competitions in 2020.  The European Softball Federation (ESF) has now identified new dates for all three of the Championships it still hopes to run this year (because they are qualifiers for WBSC World Cups in 2021).  The European U-15 Women’s Championship is now scheduled for 24-29 August, the European Women’s Championship for 20-26 September and the European Men’s Championship for 28 September-3 October.  There is no GB Team in the U-15 Championship this year; the GB Women’s and Men’s Teams will need to decide if they can compete on the new dates.  The ESF hopes to make a final decision around 15 June on whether these tournaments can go ahead, which will also be the deadline for teams to withdraw, if they need to do so, without penalty.

WBSC competitions.  Meanwhile, the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) is trying to finalise decisions about some of its own competitions.  While many WBSC competitions in 2020 have been cancelled, a couple of tournaments planned for late in the year may still go ahead.  However, the WBSC is looking in particular at the Men’s Fastpitch World Cup scheduled for February 2021 in New Zealand – a competition for which the GB Men’s Team hopes to qualify.  The tournament is now in doubt because New Zealand is restricting movement in and out of the country until next spring, and the WBSC is seeking clarification on what might be possible for this competition.

European Slowpitch competitions.  The ESF has confirmed that the European Co-ed Slowpitch Cup that was scheduled for July this year but has now been cancelled will run in 2021 in Sofia, Bulgaria, probably in the first week of August.  The European Co-ed Slowpitch Championship will also run in 2021, probably in June, though a venue remains to be confirmed.

WBSC Slowpitch World Cup.  The ESF is doing everything it can to ensure that the first-ever WBSC Slowpitch World Cup for national teams takes place in 2021.  The US has agreed to provide a host organisation, probably in Florida, and the ESF has asked Mike Jennings, as their Competitions Director, to draw up regulations and responsibilities for the tournament organiser which will be submitted to the WBSC for approval.  The idea is to make the requirements as “light-touch” as possible to hold down the financial burden on the organiser.  The WBSC is envisioning a 12-team tournament and has assigned places as follows: four to the Americas, three to Europe, and one each to Asia and Oceania, plus three wild card places.

WBSC sanctioning issue

The BSF Executive will seek clarification from the WBSC about its recent announcement on the requirement for national teams to only enter “unofficial tournaments” that the WBSC has “sanctioned”. 

Before tournaments around the world were cancelled this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, a number of GB Teams were planning to attend “unofficial” events and may have been risking a fine or a ban if it turned out that these tournaments had not been WBSC-sanctioned.


Currently, incident reports submitted from British domestic softball league games or tournaments go to BaseballSoftballUK for recording and are forwarded directly to the BSF’s insurers. 

But with ever-more incidents being reported (which is good!), it’s clear that the volume of incident reports caused a sharp rise in the BSF’s Civil and Public Liability insurance premium in 2020, despite the fact that many of the incidents reported would never result in a claim.

The BSF plans to set up a system with BSUK so that that the BSF can see incident reports before they go to the insurers and weed out those where there is no possibility of a claim.

The BSF will also talk to the insurers about a rebate on its 2020 premium, given that there will be little or no softball activity this year because of the pandemic.

National Softball League

The Executive talked briefly about the BSF’s approach to regulating NSL play should a partial season be possible this year.  A dedicated discussion will be necessary if the possibility looks like becoming a reality.

BSF Nationals and the Softball Calendar

The Executive has agreed that the Softball Calendar put together each autumn for the following season will begin with the establishment of dates for all BSF National Championships, and all other tournaments will need to work around these dates.

This is to prevent a recurrence of what happened in compiling the 2020 Calendar, when no date was available for the BSF Single-Sex Slowpitch Nationals.

National Teams and the GB Management Committee (GBMC)

The BSF had been in the process of reconstituting the GB Management Committee this year, but the process has been slowed by the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.  The BSF will hope to complete the process in the autumn so the new GBMC can begin to operate.

In the meantime, however, an ad hoc committee will be formed to begin planning for a potential Trial and Training Camp for GB female fastpitch teams at the beginning of January 2021 as a way of re-starting these programmes and regaining momentum.

Next meeting

The next BSF remote meeting will take place on Thursday evening 14 May.  Anyone with items to submit for the Agenda should contact BSF Administrator Bob Fromer

BSF remote meetings up to now have been conference calls, but the plan is for this meeting (and those going forward) to be a video conference using one of several possible platforms.

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