BFA Governance (split topic)

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Richard
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BFA Governance (split topic)

Post by Richard » Fri Sep 04, 2009 9:30 am

The above discussion posts have - i think - perhaps got to the core of the Havelock incident issues in a way that previous diatribes have not.

I was not at the havelock and really only had Dave Perrott's comments to go by. These referred to Dave Ziemann as referee and Jude as tournament official. I did contact both for their views, and i do think a big factor in the ultimate decision was the feedback from these two people. I will let them air their positions if they wish but i dont think i am being unfair if i said that their responses played down rather than up the incident (but do correct me if you think this is unfair).

We wanted to attract witnesses without "loading" the question, hence Boris' public post which was light on detail. This was a positive and conscious decision, but in hindsight like alot of things, i accept this was a fairly pathetic attempt at tracking down witnesses. An email to all attendees would have been appropriate (and it sounds like it is now standard practice) although i think people should bear in mind that there was not online registration in those days and it would have been an administratively burdensome exercise to have to correlate the attendees vs the membership lists and the forum contacts to seek people out. Again, this against the backdrop of the statements from the tournament head official and the referee in question it is a simple fact that we did not think of it at the time.

But in my defence, i would say that Dave Perrott was fully aware of the lack of witnesses coming forward, and of the views of DZ/Jude. He could easily have emailed the 5 people he thought would back up / support the situation. I am not shying away from my "in hindsight" comment above, but i think there should be some sharing of blame between the committee, witnesses for not responding, and dave himself for absolving himself of responsibility.

---------------------------------

On a slight tangent, but one repeating feature which irritated me then as it does now, is the expectation by some members that a one line email (or post) to a committee member should be sufficient to launch the spanish inquisition. Is it really unreasonable to expect the person putting a complaint to the BFA to provide full and clear details of their complaint, and to make it in a formal and structured way that can then be used by the committee to relay the complaint onto others? But this is not meant to be a specific criticism of the way Dave put the complaint forward, but rather a comment aimed at those who think the committee is somehow duty bound to waste their own time at the whim of members.

---------------------------------
What is currently concerning me, is the readiness of BFA officials (past and present) now looking to publicly (officially) berate BFA members (paying customers).

The UK game is not currently in a very healthy position, this is only making things worse.
You raise two points here. In relation to the first, i want to pick up on the statement "paying customers" which is about as inappropriate and offensive as it comes, given the BFA officials you refer to are all volunteers not salary/profit taking employees. Attitudes like yours deter players coming forward for committee positions, and this i suggest is the biggest issue the BFA faces. If people want to change something they should volunteer and actually do something about it, not just whinge from the sidelines. Take someone like Dan - he left the committee as he was pissed off at all the people complaining, but still just gets on with the newsletter. We need more people like him and people like him on the committee.

The second point is something that i have become increasingly concerned about over the last few years. I think the financial management in the past few years has been appaling, with vast sums of money seemingly completely wasted on promoting elite tournaments for the hard core few, and to the extent that the BFA has had to start charging membership fees, take on website advertising etc. I think the lack of competition for places on the committee is central to this deterioration - something i blame largely on people whinging from the sidelines. Funny that.

I should probably stop the tirade here, but i have one final comment to make. The fact is that Boris has tried to reduce his involvement in the BFA committee about a dozen times over the last 10 years, but on each occasion has been sucked back in by the immense void left by his absence. Put simply, no one has done more for the game in my playing lifetime, but it is a simple fact that the BFA needs fresh leadership. Someone with strong organisation skills, diplomacy, charisma and most importantly exceptional leadership. If such a person exists out there i really urge them to come forward, and hope they have not been put off by the thankless negative member responses which have infected this forum. Any age, any standard, any gender, but someone new with fresh ideas and drive.

Thanks,
R

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Re: Questions for Dave Perrott

Post by leaks » Fri Sep 04, 2009 10:44 am

Richard wrote:i want to pick up on the statement "paying customers" which is about as inappropriate and offensive as it comes, given the BFA officials you refer to are all volunteers not salary/profit taking employees.
I don't particularly want to get dragged into the discussion about Dave P's gripe with the BFA and so on, but thought I'd pick up on this point. I think the problem here is that the BFA is neither one thing nor the other at the moment. While the members (I wouldn't call us customers...) are paying for membership and services from the BFA, those actually on the committee do not receive any money or reward (other than people thanking them) for the efforts they put in. So the members don't necessarily know where the money goes, and the committee members do not receive anything for their efforts! This seems like a dissatisfactory position from both sides of the fence.

From a member's point of view, I think one problem is that the efforts of BFA committee members are often not visible. We all know about tournament organisers and those helping on the desks at tournaments, and for the most part those people get lots of thanks after every tournament from those who attended. This is at least some reward for the hard work they've given to that tournament. The BFA's activities are not as obvious, speaking for myself here, and while I'm sure there are things going on that I don't know about, I don't really know who to say "thanks for doing this" or "great work getting that sponsorship" to. This may be one of the reasons that the committee positions feel like such a thankless task.

Obviously this is totally dependent on how much the BFA can afford, but would a solution be for the BFA to start paying committee members based on the number of hours put in? Committee members who do nothing get nothing, those who spend hours toiling away on BFA matters will receive some renumeration (taken from membership fees I would think). This may not be financially viable at the moment, but it does seem like the obvious answer in the long run to me because:
1) Current committee members will at least feel they are being rewarded when they put in effort, even if it's not from people thanking them directly.
2) Committee spots may be better contested because there is more incentive to take those places.
3) I don't think money is a driver at all for committee members (it can't be) but there is only so long people will want to work on good will, especially if they truly do only hear from members "whinging".
4) From a member's perspective, I would like to know that my membership fees are helping fund all the hard work that is going into keeping the BFA alive.

We have a proper membership fee in place now and thus a means of regular income to the BFA - perhaps it is time to consider whether paying committee members is possible on current financial standings or what might need to be done to achieve it.

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Re: Questions for Dave Perrott

Post by Jonathan may » Fri Sep 04, 2009 11:04 am

Committees are intended for governance and guidance and decisions, not implementation. Therefore it's hard to work out how to go about paying Committees, and it's easy to see why Committees are fairly ineffectual at implementing things (yes, generalisations, but fairly accurate all the same).

If a paid person is needed, it is a paid person(s) to execute policy decided by the Committee. At the moment I think many "decisions" are made but not a lot can happen because people simply don't have the time to do it. ITSF has paid staff but I believe a largely voluntary Committee.

Not sure it would help here though...
Last edited by Jonathan may on Fri Sep 04, 2009 11:13 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Questions for Dave Perrott

Post by Mase » Fri Sep 04, 2009 11:06 am

Alex,

The process obviously wasnt that good as it failed. Since then when a complaint is made the witnesses re properly canvassed for their opinion and the appropriate communications entered into. FACT

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Re: Questions for Dave Perrott

Post by leaks » Fri Sep 04, 2009 11:57 am

Jon May wrote:If a paid person is needed, it is a paid person(s) to execute policy decided by the Committee. At the moment I think many "decisions" are made but not a lot can happen because people simply don't have the time to do it. ITSF has paid staff but I believe a largely voluntary Committee.
Yep, I did start thinking about that and I think you're right.
Jon May wrote:Not sure it would help here though...
"here" as in this Dave P thread or "here" as in the BFA in general? It seems that the committee has a gripe that some of them put in a lot of effort and get very little back. Don't you think it would help if there were 1 or 2 motivated people who were paid some (probably small) amount at least to implement whatever strategies the committee comes up with? Maybe it wouldn't make a difference - I'm just putting the idea out there to see if we can get something positive from where this thread is going...

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Re: Questions for Dave Perrott

Post by shovie » Fri Sep 04, 2009 12:10 pm

Mase, I find it amusing that, while this thread has moved on significantly, you still find it appropriate to pipe up purely to pat yourself on the back.

The main costs we have every year are ITSF fees and website fees, we are currently discussing the use of some of the funds we have and will post details (when things are finalised).

Alex

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Re: Questions for Dave Perrott

Post by Jonathan may » Fri Sep 04, 2009 12:14 pm

leaks wrote:"here" as in this Dave P thread or "here" as in the BFA in general? It seems that the committee has a gripe that some of them put in a lot of effort and get very little back. Don't you think it would help if there were 1 or 2 motivated people who were paid some (probably small) amount at least to implement whatever strategies the committee comes up with? Maybe it wouldn't make a difference - I'm just putting the idea out there to see if we can get something positive from where this thread is going...
I do think it would help, it has certainly been proposed before (in a variety of ways), but as with everything else, it requires "implementation" in order to make it happen. In this case implementation = major constitutional changes, creation of a fair process to "hire" someone, interviews, monitoring/regular feedback, office (?), and either cash in the account to pay someone or a commission/results-basis to be established (one of my proposals).

Who is going to draw up and implement this plan?
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Re: Questions for Dave Perrott

Post by leaks » Fri Sep 04, 2009 1:10 pm

Jon May wrote:I do think it would help, it has certainly been proposed before (in a variety of ways), but as with everything else, it requires "implementation" in order to make it happen. In this case implementation = major constitutional changes, creation of a fair process to "hire" someone, interviews, monitoring/regular feedback, office (?), and either cash in the account to pay someone or a commission/results-basis to be established (one of my proposals).
True, although the introduction of membership fees must have taken a fair amount of time and effort on the part of the (Im assuming) BFA committee plus helpers, so I don't see why this should be impossible. It might be that the BFA is not in the position to make this fairly large step yet, because of lack of time/money, but it does seem inevitable that it should happen eventually. Would the process to hire someone have to be so much more rigorous than than the current votes we hold at AGMs to elect committee members? A diplomatic vote for someone we see as motivated and responsible seems reasonable, but obviously the BFA would need to decide what the appropriate process would be.
Jon May wrote:Who is going to draw up and implement this plan?
I think it would have to be the committee - it's a chicken and egg situation, and it would have to be up to the committee to decide if it were feasible and then to go ahead and put in the time to implement it (with some outside help if anyone would be willing to do it) with the assumption that they (and the BFA members) will benefit greatly once it is done.

Has this topic been covered at past AGMs?


<ps this might be hijacking this thread quite a lot, so mods please feel free to split the posts on this subject from the original Dave P thread posts...>

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Re: Questions for Dave Perrott

Post by leaks » Fri Sep 04, 2009 1:24 pm

shovie wrote:The main costs we have every year are ITSF fees and website fees, we are currently discussing the use of some of the funds we have and will post details (when things are finalised).
Missed this post when I replied to Jon (assuming this is in response to the msgs we've posted). Cool to hear there's some discussion going on and look forward to hearing more about it.

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Re: BFA Governance (split topic)

Post by Richard » Fri Sep 04, 2009 2:09 pm

Not wanting to go against someone volunteering their own time and trying to help, but not quite sure why this topic has been split.

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Re: BFA Governance (split topic)

Post by tom_k » Fri Sep 04, 2009 2:16 pm

It appeared to me the debate as to whether Committee members should/could be paid and the subsequent hiring conversations etc were a tangent to Dave P's original post.

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Re: BFA Governance (split topic)

Post by leaks » Fri Sep 04, 2009 2:47 pm

Richard wrote:Not wanting to go against someone volunteering their own time and trying to help, but not quite sure why this topic has been split.
Sorry, probably my post with the ps at the end saying it was ok to split if they wanted. I think this is a separate discussion about how to move the BFA forward in the future, rather than about your original post to Dave P, the Havelock incident and ensuing investigation - having those posts mixed together will probably be quite hard to read, and it feels like the topics have diverged.

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Re: BFA Governance (split topic)

Post by Boris » Fri Sep 04, 2009 5:20 pm

I do not believe committee members should be paid - other than legitimate out of pocket expenses - and the constitution debars committee members from profiting from any BFA-related activities.

The truth is that it is very rare to have elections to committee at the AGM, one one of the few occasions where elections were held Dave P was voted off the committee, despite the selfless work he had put in (compared to some of those elected in his place), so I am not surprised at his animosity towards the BFA. The committee needs committed and capable individuals who are willing to work hard for the benefit of the game as a whole, as well as make responsible decisions about policy and financial matters. At present it is a coalition of the willing, and some of the hardest workers (e.g. Dan G, Tom K and others) prefer to do so without the burden of committee responsibilities.

If we were to move towards having a paid employee or staff, our budget would have to increase by a factor of at least 10-20 fold, which would require much higher membership fees than the nominal fiver a year (which people still whinge about), it would also require sanction fees for ranking tournaments, contributions from manufacturers and distributors, and major corporate sponsorship and/or sale of TV rights. The employee could not be a committee member, but might be a party to committee decisions in an advisory capacity. The problem is that the salary offered would have to be sufficient to employ someone with the appropriate abilities and organisational skills who could probably earn twice as much with another employer. He or she would be expected to raise enough funds to cover his/her salary. Getting recognition as a sport could open the way to sports, sponsorship or lottery funding, as well as better opportunities to cooperate with local and national government.

As for my own position, I certainly won't seek re-election on more than one further occasion, if that, and if a suitable candidate comes forward next year I will gratefully stand aside. That would have given me a 4-year term at the helm, which is quite long enough thank you very much. There are many things which need to be done, not least the application for recognition as a sport, but the strain and time involved in reacting to events leaves little time for pro-active work. The Sports commission and Grass Roots development get short bouts of activity but at the end of the day no-one can be bothered to see things through. We also need someone close to the Bucks area to develop/mentor disabled foosball at Stoke Mandeville.

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Re: BFA Governance (split topic)

Post by Mike A » Fri Sep 04, 2009 6:37 pm

Richard, I think that on the subject of Dave P's complaint, we are probably now braodly in agreement.

As far as the BFA and my comments are concerned, they were blunt and probably ill advised, but the principle remains. BFA Committee members seemed to be publicly attempting to transfer all responsibility for the Havelock incident onto the BFA members/everyone present at the Havelock tournament, a position I found equally inappropriate and insulting, committees just shouldn't do that, and when they do, it is a sign that...well, I'll moderate my blunt and probably ill advised comments this time!

I agree that volunteers are invaluable, but publicly berating members is no way to appeal yourselves to the very pool of people you are looking to obtain volunteers from. To again start to address members of your player base publicly as 'whingers' does nothing to win them over.

Also, to have people take certain smug positions in debates and then use the fact they are a BFA volunteer as a means to win arguments is shameful.

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Re: BFA Governance (split topic)

Post by snakecharmer » Sun Sep 06, 2009 9:33 pm

Richard wrote:But in my defence, i would say that Dave Perrott was fully aware of the lack of witnesses coming forward, and of the views of DZ/Jude. He could easily have emailed the 5 people he thought would back up / support the situation. I am not shying away from my "in hindsight" comment above, but i think there should be some sharing of blame between the committee, witnesses for not responding, and dave himself for absolving himself of responsibility.

-Thanks,
R
I was not officially aware of how many witnesses had come forward as i was distanced from any info regarding the issue as I was the complainant. It is not my job to seek out witnesses, and had I done so would probably been accused of selectively pursuing statements as I didn't know the full list of attendees.

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Re: BFA Governance (split topic)

Post by Richard » Sun Sep 06, 2009 9:44 pm

Dave, i think my post on the other thread will show by your own words that you were at the time aware of witnesses not coming forward.

Perhaps it is time that you accept the verdict and move on.

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Re: BFA Governance (split topic)

Post by snakecharmer » Sun Sep 06, 2009 10:00 pm

I asked Boris after the time limit for witnesses coming forward was up. Any info I had beforehand was hearsay. Seeking out witnesses should be the job of those investigating, not the complainant. Blaming me for not seeking witnesses is weak. Now who was investigating? Let me see.....ah...time for someone else to admit their failure. ( but I know that'll never happen)

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Re: BFA Governance (split topic)

Post by Richard » Mon Sep 07, 2009 2:12 pm

snakecharmer wrote:I asked Boris after the time limit for witnesses coming forward was up. Any info I had beforehand was hearsay. Seeking out witnesses should be the job of those investigating, not the complainant. Blaming me for not seeking witnesses is weak. Now who was investigating? Let me see.....ah...time for someone else to admit their failure. ( but I know that'll never happen)
But you refused to say who the witnesses were!!!!

Fine - sorry for not thinking about going down the results list, trawling britfoos and the member lists, and emailing those people. We did not think of that at the time. Happy now?

So far i have tried (for me) to be constructive, and identify what your problems are (i still cannot see them) in order to identify what you want the BFA to address in order that you can put this behind you . But your persistence in arguing from this obscure and spurious standpoint is beginning to annoy me.

Richard

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Re: BFA Governance (split topic)

Post by snakecharmer » Mon Sep 07, 2009 5:30 pm

If you need to identify what my problem still is read some of the history to all of this. As for annoying you, it's a 2 way street.

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Re: BFA Governance (split topic)

Post by robmoss2k » Fri Sep 11, 2009 11:46 am

Richard wrote:Attitudes like yours deter players coming forward for committee positions, and this i suggest is the biggest issue the BFA faces.
I think it's important to remember that the point of the BFA committee is to encourage people to play and enjoy the game, not to encourage committee membership, and generally the BFA committee spends most of its time bickering (at least from my short stint there) and very little time encouraging - most of the encouragement to get people playing tends to come from the individuals on the committee acting in an individual capacity, and it's usually Boris. It's important to have a committee but the function they provide is behind-the-scenes administration and guidance. They don't actually do anything, just decide things, and what we need right now is people who do things. In fact, what we're really missing right now is a few more people who genuinely want to go to the trouble of putting tournaments on. Screw the committee to be honest, let's just focus on finding people who get a kick out of seeing a load of people turn up to their tournament and do whatever we can to help them. People like JP and Fitz for example. If you care about the state of the game in the UK then go and ask the Keele guys if they need help with something.
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