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.
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.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.
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.