BSF Executive Meeting Report: 29 February 2020

Tue 3 Mar 2020

The BSF Executive held a brief face-to-face meeting after the end of the 2020 BSF AGM on Saturday 29 February in Manchester.  Below is a journalistic account of the main discussions and decisions.


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

Apologies:  Alexis Markham-Hill (National Teams Officer), Steve Getraer (General Officer).


The Executive welcomed Michael Lott, who had been elected at the AGM as a BSF General Officer with responsibility for Coaching, to his first Executive meeting.

European Slowpitch Cup

After a long struggle to find a host for this summer’s European Slowpitch Super Cup, which has three British teams taking part, it has finally been decided that Bulgaria will host the tournament in Sofia from 20 or 21 July through 27 July.

The BSF had been looking at whether Great Britain could host the tournament at Farnham Park to prevent it being cancelled if all else failed, and had been trying to construct a viable budget for an event that would cost in the region of £20,000.  But the Bulgarian decision to host has taken us off the hook.

However, Bulgaria has asked for some support with costs, and both the BSF and German Slowpitch will be making contributions.  The BSF contribution will be 1500 euros.

If the number of entries requires that the European Slowpitch Super Cup begins on Monday 20 July, the day after the third Diamond Series weekend, the BSF may decide to schedule the third weekend of NSL1 league games on a separate date.  The hope is that the Super Cup can begin on Tuesday 21 July, which will remove the problem.

Meanwhile, over the next few months, the BSF will look at how it might build up a reserve fund that would allow us to bid to host European competitions – especially slowpitch competitions – in future, either as a positive choice or to prevent competitions being cancelled for lack of a host.

While European fastpitch competitions generally secure hosts, often well in advance, it is often a struggle to find a club or country willing to take on a European slowpitch event.

Were we to host such a tournament in future, we will need to train home-based scorers to score the tournament to Softball Europe standards and requirements, and to operate the play-by-play system on the Softball Europe website for all games.  Doing this would save us having to pay for Softball Europe to fly scorers in for that purpose.

Development Grant application

The BSF Executive approved a Development Grant of £500 to Maidenhead Softball Club to run a softball programme in four local schools from May through July this year.  The BSF grant is expected to cover around a third of total costs.

The programme will include training teachers in the schools to be Softball Activators and will work towards a mini-league and tournament at the end of the school year.  The club will partner with BSUK to deliver the programme and will establish links with a similar programme in Bracknell that the BSF is also grant-aiding.

The idea is that the first year of the programme will create a blueprint that can be used in subsequent years to increase the number of participating schools and teachers.

Another aim is to create a pathway for students taking part in the school softball programme to transition to Maidenhead Softball Club and perhaps to Academy Softball to continue their involvement with the sport.

World Series location

The Softball World Series Tournament has been forced to find a new venue after many successful years at what was formerly the BA Concorde Club in Cranford, and the BSF has been looking for an alternative venue that could accommodate the 18-team format and keep the tournament close to Heathrow Airport for the benefit of teams flying in from Europe.

In the end, however, the only viable venue appears to be Farnham Park, and the World Series will be held there on the weekend of 19-20 September.

Because grass pitches are not available at Farnham Park in September and only the four dedicated diamonds will be available, the number of entries will need to be cut this year from 18 to 15.

Teams have been asked shortly to indicate an interest in entering.

Slowpitch World Cup

Mike Jennings told the meeting that proposals for light-touch requirements for whoever might host the first WBSC Slowpitch World Cup have been drawn up by the WBSC’s Michael Schmidt and will be presented to the WBSC Board in April.

Without having requirements that are scaled down from the usual WBSC baseball or fastpitch World Cup, a Slowpitch World Cup is unlikely to find a host.

Assuming that the WBSC Board approves Michael Schmidt’s recommendations, the search for a host – likely to be in the United States -- can begin.  The likeliest date for the tournament is in the spring of 2021.

Mike also reported that New Zealand is keen to send a team to the event, and that former BSUK employee Stan Doney has been appointed to organise the Kiwi team.

GBMC Treasurer appointment

The BSF has been looking for a new Treasurer for the GB Management Committee and GB National Teams to replace Simon Mortimer, who stepped down from the role at the end of 2019 after several years of dedicated service.

Two strong applications were received for the post, and the BSF has decided to appoint Lars Looijen, who is based in the Netherlands but has extensive experience as a softball treasurer, having filled this role with the Dutch National Team in the past and currently with the leading Dutch club team Olympia Haarlem.  

Conference in Turkey

Softball Europe has asked for representatives from national federations to take up an offer to attend an all-expenses-paid conference in Antalya, Turkey hosted by a Turkish government tourist organisation with the aim of promoting tourism through sport.  Softball attendance will not only promote our sport in this arena but will provide an opportunity for informal discussions about softball issues by the softball reps attending.

Mike Jennings has offered to attend the conference on behalf of both the BSF and Softball Europe.

Next meeting

The next BSF conference call meeting will be held on the evening of Thursday 19 March.  Anyone with matters to raise at the meeting should contact BSF Administrator Bob Fromer.

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